Sept. 2, 2007

Court Denial of Emergency Motion in NAFTA Trucks Case a Disappointment

Statement of Bonnie Robin-Vergeer, Attorney, Public Citizen

A ruling late Friday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the NAFTA trucks case is a disappointment. The court denied an emergency motion filed by Public Citizen, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and other groups, asking the federal court to block the start of a U.S. Department of Transportation’s pilot program. The pilot program will allow a select number of Mexico-domiciled trucks into the United States to carry cargo beyond the narrow zones near the border to which their operations are currently limited. It is our understanding that the pilot program may begin on September 6.

The emergency stay sought by the groups and denied by the court is extraordinary relief that is difficult to obtain. While naturally, we are disappointed in the court’s ruling, we appreciate that the court did not address the merits of our lawsuit challenging the pilot program. That lawsuit will proceed, and the court will address the lawfulness of the pilot program after full briefing and argument. We are hopeful that the court will agree with us that the pilot program fails to meet the requirements set by Congress.