APRIL 11, 2011
In the latest effort to accommodate its cherished trade partner in the south, theU.S. government is paying to upgrade outdated Mexican trucks that hemorrhage illegal amounts of exhaust on their trips north to deliver merchandise.The Mexican trucks enter the U.S. under a 17-year-old international trade pact known as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and they’ve created an air pollution crisis. The air quality in border towns has been especially impacted by the exorbitant levels of exhaust released by the Mexican trucks, which also fail to meet American safety standards.Since the Mexican truckers have no intention of fixing the problem, Uncle Sam has stepped in to save the environment. U.S. taxpayers have picked up the cost to replace old mufflers on dozens of trucks and many more are scheduled to be upgraded by the middle of this year. The unbelievable story was reported this week by an Arizona newspaper that says replacing the old mufflers with new catalytic converters will reduce harmful diesel emissions by up to 30%.The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is running the operation but the money is actually coming from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the same bloated federal agency that’s dedicated millions to “environmental justice” programs that help minorities get green. Under that brilliant EPA project, leftwing groups get federal dollars to teach black, Latino and indigenous folks how to recycle, reduce carbon emissions and participate in “green jobs” training.In this genius case, EPA grants have upgraded 55 Mexican trucks and many more will be enhanced this year. Each truck costs U.S. taxpayers about $1,600. The feds justify the expenditure by claiming that it will improve air quality on both sides of the border, especially in towns that are helpless due to lack of resources. The director of Arizona’s Department of Environmental Quality says it’s all about establishing a “relationship on environmental issues.”U.S. truck drivers are required to have the type of converters that Mexicans are getting from the American government, though they must pay for theirs. For years, the idea of Mexican trucks entering the U.S. under NAFTA has been a contentious issue because they follow the notoriously dismal safety standards of a third-world country.In fact, a few years ago the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General determined that Mexican trucks that regularly travel throughout American highways are rarely checked for safety by U.S. authorities despite a provision requiring it. Rules requiring that every Mexican truck undergo a thorough safety compliance check and that every driver has a valid license and is proficient in English have been virtually ignored, according to the IG’s findings.
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