Appeals court rules on Mexican truck entry to US

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco CA January 16 granted a petition that would require the Department of Transportation to prepare a full environmental impact statement and Clean Air Act conformity determination before Mexico-domicilied trucks are given full access to US highways. The action follows a lawsuit filed in May 2002 by a coalition that includes Public Citizen, the Teamsters, and the California Trucking Association, according to court information.

The petitioners in the lawsuit argued that the entrance of Mexican trucks to the US would be harmful to humans and the environment. Some of their data presented to the court stated that:

•At least 30,000 Mexico-domiciled diesel trucks could enter the United States in the next year alone, including many older, pre-1994 trucks that are the most egregious polluters.

•A study shows, by the year 2010, trucks from Mexico will emit twice as much particulate matter and nitrogen oxides as US trucks.

•There is no system in place to systematically inspect the emissions of trucks coming over the border from Mexico.

•Trucks from Mexico may not be covered by a 1998 settlement between the government and trucking manufacturers that requires US trucks to remove "defeat devices" which enabled them to test clean at inspection sites but run dirty on the open road.

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