Call On FMSCA To Conduct Full Environmental Review Of Proposed Pilot Program
In comments submitted to the Department of Transportation (DOT), the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Sierra Club raised serious concerns with the failure of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to adequately assess the environmental impacts associated with the proposed U.S.-Mexico cross-border trucking pilot program.
On July 12, the FMCSA released its Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) of the cross-border trucking program. The narrow view of the scope was limited to the environmental impact associated with border inspections, ignoring the wider and more serious impact Mexican trucks will have on the environment.
“With this assessment, the FMSCA is recklessly ignoring the true environmental impact Mexican trucks will have if permitted to travel without restrictions throughout our country,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “We contend that the FMSCA has violated the National Environmental Policy Act by not addressing the full, cumulative effects on our environment prior to starting the cross-border pilot program.”
In the comments, the Teamsters Union and the Sierra Club cite the requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for agencies to provide environmental information to public officials and citizens on the environmental impact of any new program or initiative prior to moving forward. Since the FMCSA announced its intent to proceed with the cross-border pilot program on July 8, it clearly violated the requirements as outlined in NEPA.
The Teamsters and the Sierra Club also questioned why the FMCSA did not require Mexican carriers to certify that Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) was used in all their vehicles that will operate within our borders, and in turn require Mexico to have ULSD widely available on its highways. The scarcity of ULSD in Mexico is also another major issue that needs to be resolved before U.S. trucks that utilize the low-emission fuel exclusively can travel throughout the country.
“The FMCSA has been negligent in its duty to the American public,” Hoffa said. “Until the true scope and impact of this cross-border program is assessed, we cannot allow Mexican trucks to freely travel within our borders.”