The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is soliciting comments on what should be included in evaluating the environmental effect of Mexican trucks doing business in the United States.
Earlier this year, Public Citizen and labor groups won a lawsuit against the agency in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The groups charged that the Bush Administration had not met environmental law requirements when it made its Nov. 27 announcement that the U.S.-Mexico border was open for Mexican truckers to do long-haul trucking in the United States.
Before that announcement, FMCSA had conducted a limited environmental assessment and determined the influx of Mexican trucks would not have a significant environmental impact. It had concluded that a full environmental impact statement was not necessary and issued a finding of no significant impact and interim final rules in March 2002.
On April 10, the court ruled that a detailed EIS and general conformity evaluation, required under the Clean Air Act, were needed. The agency appealed the court’s decision and lost.
The EIS will be completed in 12 to 18 months, and the GCE will be conducted during that time as well. This complete environmental impact statement will analyze the short- and long-term environmental impacts of Mexican trucks operating beyond the border zones.
Comments should be sent by Nov. 7 to: NAFTA EIS, P.O. Box 4050, Merrifield, VA 22116-4050 or faxed to (800) 260-9702. Comments may be submitted at: www.fmcsa.dot.gov.