Canadian trucks follow rules

A recent article on Oct. 9 by Matthew Weaver ("Canadian trucks skirt scales") seems to be labeling "Canadian" trucks. We are a company that has been in business for 50 years and operate some of those trucks. We would like to shed some light on Weaver's article.

The first quote is from a lady who accuses these trucks of "skirting scales." In fact, they are avoiding going through downtown Coeur d'Alene first as a courtesy to the residents of the city, second for the well-being of the cargo we are hauling. Stopping and starting at the many lights in downtown is not good for livestock or others sharing the road. Those are the reasons the drivers are asked to take Highway 53.

The second issue brought up is the health of these "Canadian" cattle. At the Canada-U.S. border, the livestock are inspected by an accredited USDA veterinarian. He is very diligent in making sure paperwork is in order and that the cattle are healthy. When they pass inspection, the trailer is sealed and can only be unloaded at the designated facility. At the destination they are again inspected by USDA.

The third issue is weight checks in Washington. Each truck crosses a scale in Idaho, and the weight restrictions are the same for both states. There are also two more inspection stations between Spokane and the facilities where the cattle are unloaded. All trucks cross three scales after arriving in the U.S. All of these scales can pull any Canadian truck over and check for infractions. These trucks are loaded according to U.S. weight restrictions, not Canadian.

The fourth issue is damage to Washington roads. For each mile that is traveled by a Canadian truck in any U.S. state, a fuel tax is submitted to that state on a quarterly basis. Also, all Canadian trucks purchasing fuel pay a tax within the fuel cost that goes to maintaining the highways. We are traveling in your state and abide by your laws. If the Canadian trucks are breaking your laws, all drivers deserve to be fined.

In the future we would appreciate it if Weaver did his due diligence of finding out the facts. We are neighboring countries; we have the longest undefended border in the world. Many commodities travel by road back and forth between our countries. We are huge trading partners -- in fact, we are your largest trading partner. We exchanged over $200 billion of goods across our borders in the last year. Second is China with $164 billion.

Many of your trucks are crossing into Canada bringing goods we have bought from the U.S. If you can spare some time and visit your neighbors from the north, you will see that we have many, many products and business that have originated from the U.S.

Hopefully, you will agree that we are a great asset to each other.

Randy Vanee,

Partner, Vanee Livestock

Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada

Environmental costs add up

Thank you so much for your Oct. 16 Colorado lawyer Karen Budd-Falen's exposé on how our federal government is paying billions of dollars to environmental groups for attorney fees and costs. Of course, it follows that every media-headlined article about each case reaps new members for those same environmental groups.

Following up on the Oct. 2 article about the legal challenges faced by farmers and industry groups resulting from increasingly stringent environment regulations, the Capital Press, is doing a great job of informing its readers of subjects untouched by regular media -- at least not by media in the Seattle metropolitan area.

Maxine Keesling

Woodinville, Wash.

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