from reuters: The Bush administration can proceed with a plan to open the U.S. border to long haul Mexican trucks as early as next week after an appeals court rejected a bid by labor, consumer and environmental interests to block the initiative.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco late on Friday denied an emergency petition (26kb PDF) sought by the Teamsters union, the Sierra Club and consumer group Public Citizen to halt the start of a one-year pilot program that was approved by Congress after years of legal and political wrangling.
The Transportation Department welcomed the decision and said in a statement that allowing more direct shipments from Mexico will benefit U.S. consumers.
The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement approved broader access for ground shipments from both countries but the Clinton administration never complied with the trucking provision. A special tribunal ordered the Bush administration to do so in 2001.
"This is the wrong decision for working men and women," Jim Hoffa, president of the Teamsters, said in a statement after the court ruling. "We believe this program clearly breaks the law." The Teamsters represents truckers that would be affected by the change.
The emergency stay was sought on grounds the administration's pilot program had not satisfied the U.S. Congress' requirements on safety and other issues. But the appeals court ruled otherwise.