If Uncle Sam were a real human and not just a caricature for the United States he’d be investigated for child cruelty by Children Protection Services.
That’s because Uncle Sam is about to make young children with asthma in the southern San Joaquin Valley breath something much worse than second hand smoke - dirty diesel fumes.
The first truck carrier from Mexico will cross the border into the United States on Friday. It is the result of the jobs killer bill passed by Congress in 1994 that goes by the innocent sounding name of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The debate that wages today on the national level focuses on an estimated 100,000 American trucking jobs that may be lost. That’s because Mexican carriers will no longer need to transfer cargo to American trucks at the border.
There are also real serious concerns about traffic safety as well as the potential for a big increase in drug traffic.
Amid all of the chest pounding there is one little detail that surprisingly even hard-core environmentalists are barely letting out a whimper about - dirty diesel.
Mexico’s diesel is much dirtier than that sold in California. Mexico’s trucks aren’t under the same mandate as the truckers are in California that require cleaner burning engines that cost upwards of $80,000.
A truck with fuel tanks at the border can make it to Bakersfield and even Fresno without having to refuel. That will bring the dirtiest trucks in North America into the No. 1 area in the country for air pollution attributed to vehicles.
It is already the case that truckers from out-of-state will fuel up before crossing the state line with Arizona and Nevada to avoid paying more for cleaner California diesel that also gets less mileage. While out-of-state trucks spew out more fumes than a California diesel truck, it is minuscule compared to what a truck powered with diesel from Mexico will dump into the atmosphere.
Supposedly Mexico within 20 years will bring their diesel standards up to the current standard in the other 49 states. Not only in 20 years could those current standards be even tighter but they aren’t anywhere near what is now in place in California.
The San Joaquin Valley has slashed its emissions by more than 50 percent despite the population almost doubling since 1980. Yet, we exceeded federal standards one day this year and are now faced with a $29 million federally imposed fine that every San Joaquin Valley driver with a registered vehicle will be paying $12 a year to cover.
The federal government is pushing for even tougher standards that would be impossible to meet unless every vehicle in the valley is taken off the road and farming operations are slashed. That essentially would throw thousands upon thousands of more people out of work.
The same federal government that has imposed such draconian requirements on the San Joaquin Valley approved a deal that will actually add air pollution to the valley and make it even more impossible to meet goals set by Washington.
The scariest part is NAFTA and the air quality standards were all put in place to “help us.”
It just goes to show Ronald Reagan was absolutely right when he said the nine scariest words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”