posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 10:29 PM
In November 2002, the President ordered the opening of all US roads to Mexican trucks, a measure the US previously agreed to under the provisions of
NAFTA. Environmental, labor, consumer and trucking organizations, however, opposed the opening of the border and called for the department of
Transportation (DOT) to conduct an environmental assessment.
The Supreme Court rules unanimously that the Bush administration does not need to complete an environmental study before it opens U.S. borders to
Mexican trucks, an element of the NAFTA trade agreement. The ruling removed the last legal hurdle to the plan, which has been fought by labor
officials and environmentalists. President Bush can open the US highway network to Mexican trucks, bringing the US into compliance with a provision of
the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the court's opinion.
Monday's ruling allows the trucks to enter at any time. A White House spokesman declined to specify a date. The groups that brought the lawsuit
estimated that 34,000 trucks from Mexico would be on US highways in the first year alone. By 2010, trucks from Mexico would likely emit twice as much
of certain pollutants as US trucks, they said. Nonunion trucking companies such as Indianapolis-based Celadon Group will be able to employ lower-paid
Mexican drivers to carry goods to and from the United States and will save the time and expense of transferring loads at the border.
U.S. truckers earn on average 34 cents a mile plus benefits, according to Celadon's chief executive officer, Stephen Russell. A Mexican driver in
Mexico is paid about 14 cents a mile, he said. The Teamsters say the disparity is even greater -- $7 a day for Mexican truckers compared with more
than $20 an hour for drivers employed by Yellow Roadway Corp., a unionized company that is also the nation's largest trucking business.
In 1999, 258 Members of Congress and 48 Senators wrote to President Clinton, urging him to keep the borders closed to Mexican trucking. Mexico
challenged Clinton's refusal to open the border before a NAFTA panel, demanding that the U.S. open its highways to unlimited Mexican trucking. The
decision announced last week is the result of that challenge. President I love America Bush had a different answer to the issue:
Can you guess what hand signal Bush gave to Congress?