February 16 - According to local media in Montana, the state of Idaho has given ExxonMobil permission to go ahead with a "test shipment" for its Alberta-bound oil mining equipment, even as the state considers whether the company can ultimately ship as man

ExxonMobil needs to ship the equipment from the Port of Lewistown along Highway 12 through Missoula, then along Highway 200 before travelling north to the Alberta Oil Tar Sands fields.

The test load, which should move on February 22, will weigh over 225 tonnes.

The permit also sets the stage for Idaho to hold a "contested case hearing" where opponents of the shipments will be able to present evidence and testimony against the big loads. A date hasn't been set for that hearing.

Last week, Montana officials decided there were no significant environmental impacts from the ExxonMobil loads, setting the stage for the company to be issued permits to go through the state.