U.S. taxpayers foot the bill to upgrade Mexican truck emissions
Now that the Obama Administration has okayed the Mexican trucking industries to do business in America, pesky environmentalists want those trucks to operate within U.S. standards. Lucky for the Mexican truckers, the U.S. taxpayer will pick up the tab to upgrade foreign-owned trucks ensuring their emissions meet environmental standards.
According to air-quality regulators, state or federal agencies cannot force trucks purchased and manufactured in Mexico to operate within the much-higher air-quality standards inside the U.S.
So clearly another problem with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) presented itself. However, the folks at the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) decided to implement a new program.
They decided to approach Mexican truck drivers with a compromise, the U.S. taxpayer will pay the approximately $1,600 to install a new catalytic converter that will reduce the harmful diesel emissions by 30 percent and the Mexican truck drivers can drive in the U.S. knowing they are not unnecessarily polluting the environment.
The environmental agency in Arizona simply went to the federal government (who is flush with borrowed cash) and created a new federal grant program. Problem solved- no need to have the Mexican government pay to have the trucks upgraded in order to travel and trade freely in the U.S., nope the taxpayer is happy to pick up the bill.
“It’s about establishing this relationship on environmental issues,” says ADEQ Director Henry Darwin. “It’s especially important on air quality because you can’t stop the air from moving across the border.”
Darwin says the best solution is to use the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) money to fix the Mexican big rigs.
However, independent U.S. truckers are not entitled to the same deal.
“If I don’t pass my smog test I have to pay to fix my truck in order to get it registered,” says Tom Matthews of San Diego. “Not only are these rigs getting taxpayer money to upgrade their trucks, but they are competing with me for work. That’s just plain wrong.”
While Mexico does very little to protect the environment, it remains to be seen if retro fitting their fifth-wheeler trucks will change anything in the grand scheme of things. For example Mexico still burns its trash and the majority of the cars on the road are big-time polluters.
But Darwin contends, “That it’s really the first step.”
Matthews just wishes he could get the same deal.
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