(Sept. 17) WASHINGTON, D.C. — In spite of an announcement in early September that it would begin an envi-ronmental study on the effects of Mexican trucks entering the U.S., it appears the Bush administration hasn’t given up the fight just yet.

The administration is seeking help from the Supreme Court in overturning a lower court ruling that forced compliance with the environmental study.

The ruling came as a result of a lawsuit filed in May 2002 by several groups, including consumer advocate group Public Citizen, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the California Trucking Association.

The lawsuit contended that the Bush administration ignored environmental laws when it decided to open the border. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the claims.

The Bush administration announced earlier this month that it would comply with the ruling, but at the same time it has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.

The U.S. solicitor general wrote in his appeal that the environmental laws were “misapplied” by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals when it issued the order for the environmental study.

What’s more, he wrote, the delay in opening the border is hurting trade relations between the U.S. and Mexico and hurting businesses on both sides of the border.

“The 9th Circuit’s ruling therefore is causing serious and ongoing harm to U.S. businesses and consumers and to international relations with Mexico,” he wrote.

The environmental study could take more than a year and is expected to cost $1.8 million. The contract for the study has already been awarded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to ICF Consulting, Fairfax, Va.

The border originally was supposed to be opened in 1994 as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The opening was blocked, however, by the Clinton administration because of the same environmental concerns.

Upon taking office in 2001, President Bush pledged to open the borders. A lengthy debate in both houses of Congress followed, resulting in a laundry list of new regulations for Mexican trucks wishing to enter the country. The regulations were passed in early 2002.