"Cross examination is the greatest engine for ascertaining truth" is a justly-famous line from Wigmore on Evidence. Apparently the Federal Maritime Commission isn't interested in the truth.
In a post on October 30, 2008, I talked about the unwarranted decision of the Federal Maritime Commission ("FMC") to try to kill critical parts of the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach Clean Trucks Programs. If successful, the FMC's decision will create new, deadly levels of diesel particulate pollution in Southern California.
On November 18, 2008, the FMC, in a confusing document, asked the Federal District Court in Washington, D.C. to enjoin the heart of the LA Ports' Clean Trucks Plans. Their motion is based largely on the declaration of a self-proclaimed expert economist who, by his own history, has exactly zero experience with port trucking.
Even more troubling, the economist's declaration was developed in a closed-door proceeding where the public was not involved and where he was not, and could not be, questioned about the bases for his conclusions or his reasoning process. This is not what Dean Wigmore had in mind, and indeed is antithetical to the Anglo-American legal process. As a result, not surprisingly, the economist's work product reads like an industry promulgated editorial rather than a work of scholarship.
On November10, 2008, NRDC, Coalition for Clean Air, and the Sierra Club filed suit in Federal District Court in Los Angeles to stop the FMC from killing the Clean Trucks Programs unless, and until, the FMC complies with the federal environmental law known as the National Environmental Protection Act ("NEPA"). NEPA requires that federal agencies analyze - in an open, public process -- the environmental effects of certain of their actions. The FMC did not do this, and indeed has taken the position that it is above the law when it comes to compliance with NEPA. Given how weak their position is, no one should be surprised that yet another Bush Administration agency does not want its actions exposed to public scrutiny.