As wary as I am of any move to restrict border crossings because of the often racist motivations behind those restrictions, this is problematic. As part of NAFTA, we agreed to allow Mexican trucks full access to our roads, and we’re finally being forced to give it a try. There’s two main problems with this: 1) safety concerns because there are no restrictions on the number of hours Mexican truck drivers can work (and driver fatigue is a major cause of road accidents), and 2) pollution concerns, because of higher levels of sulfur in the diesel south of the border and trucks that aren’t held to U.S. emissions standards (much less California standards).

The article notes that there is a California law requiring that Mexican trucks meet U.S. emissions standards, but “It remains unclear, state environmental officials said, what that law will mean for the new pilot program.” In other words, NAFTA’s Chapter 11 provision means that Mexican trucking companies could sue California or the U.S. for environmental regulations that cost them money. So, in other words, all of the gains that California has achieved in improving air quality over the last few decades are about to go out the window in the name of global trade.

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