Supreme Court Allows Old Mexican Trucks to Pollute U.S. Communities

LOS ANGELES (June 7, 2004) - The following is a statement by Gail Ruderman Feuer regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today in "Department of Transportation et al., v. Public Citizen et al." Ms. Feuer is a senior attorney with NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). She was lead counsel for NRDC and the Planning and Conservation League, which intervened in the case.

"The Supreme Court today sided with the Bush administration against the health of families in the U.S. and Mexico. The Court's decision will increase deadly particulate pollution and smog by allowing tens of thousands of dirty diesel trucks from Mexico to travel into communities in the U.S. already plagued by poor air quality. It also perpetuates ineffective Mexican environmental policies that jeopardize the health of that nation's residents.

"We will continue to fight for rules to protect our communities from foreign trucks that don't meet U.S. emission standards and therefore needlessly endanger public health.

"We support free trade, but everyone should play by the same rules that are designed to protect public health. Congress now has an opportunity to protect the public's health by requiring that trucks coming from Mexico be as clean as their U.S. counterparts."


  • At least 30,000 Mexico-domiciled diesel trucks could enter the U.S. starting this summer, including many older, pre-1994 trucks that are the most egregious polluters.
  • A study shows that by the year 2010 trucks from Mexico will emit twice as much particulate matter and nitrogen oxides as U.S. trucks. Fine particulate matter is considered to be the largest environmental public health problem in the U.S. today and nitrogen oxides help form ozone, which can aggravate asthma and emphysema.
  • There is no system in place to inspect the emissions of trucks coming over the border from Mexico.
  • For many model years, including trucks currently for sale, U.S. emissions standards are dramatically more stringent than those governing the sale of trucks in Mexico.