A judge has upheld a request by Missoula County and three conservation groups to stop Imperial Oil/Exxon Mobil from transporting massive oilfield equipment modules through western Montana.

District Judge Ray Dayton of Anaconda issued his decision late Tuesday afternoon to partially grant a preliminary injunction against the Montana Department of Transportation and Imperial Oil/Exxon Mobil. The judge says the transportation department erred in approving Imperial's proposal to transport 200 megaloads of processing equipment from Idaho to the Kearl Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada, via U.S. Highway 12, Highway 200 and other two-lane roads in Montana.

Dayton agreed with the plaintiffs that the MDT violated the Montana Environmental Policy Act because it approved an insufficient environmental assessment.

Imperial Oil is the Canadian arm of Exxon Mobil.

Associated Press