WASHINGTON, April 4 -- The Sierra Club issued the following news release:
As policymakers, the auto industry and the public converge on the Washington Auto Show, public interest groups today denounced Ford's green hypocrisy and called on the company to stop working with the Trump administration to roll back clean car standards. Public Citizen, the Sierra Club, the Safe Climate Campaign, and Interfaith Power & Light highlighted Ford's lobbying of the Trump administration behind the scenes, threatening the historic and essential consumer and climate protections.
The press conference came as President Donald Trump is pressuring automakers to support his rollback. The groups today also unveiled a letter they sent to 20 automakers calling on the companies to choose the side of the public and support the Obama-era standards.
On display was a 10-foot-tall inflatable Tyrannosaurus rex and activists in dinosaur costumes. In January, at the Detroit Auto Show, the dinosaurs made an appearance in Ford's hometown with the same message. The prehistoric reptiles were impossible to miss outside the convention center entrance and were meant to illustrate Ford's outsized pollution: The annual climate pollution emitted from the automaker's Expedition SUV (9 tons) is the equivalent of the weight of a Tyrannosaurus rex.
Last August, the Trump administration proposed to freeze the clean car standards at 2020 levels and revoke California's waiver under the Clean Air Act, which allows the state and 12 others to protect their residents from harmful tailpipe pollution. Experts have warned that the administration's proposal would lead to an additional 2.2 billion metric tons of climate-disrupting emissions and hundreds of billions extra spent by consumers at the gas pump.
"As Ford Motor Company spins an image of innovation and sustainability, its lobbyists are dismantling our country's most effective program to combat climate change," said Madeline Page, campaign coordinator for Public Citizen's Clean Cars campaign. "Take Ford's choice to display only one electric vehicle - the discontinued C-Max - at the Washington Auto Show. Time and time again, Ford makes clear its environmental ethics are all talk and no walk."
"Ford and other automakers are backpedaling on climate and consumer protections that have been protecting communities across the nation for years and driving improvements in fuel efficiency," said Debbie Sease, Sierra Club's National Campaign Director. "Ford's so-called commitment to fighting climate change is nothing more than greenwashing considering its role in the rollback of the popular and effective clean car standards."
"Ford Motor Company told President Trump to kick off the rollback of the clean car standards but it tells the public that it wants to protect the atmosphere," said Dan Becker, Director of the Safe Climate Campaign. "Ford should stop talking out of both sides of its tailpipe."
"The clean car standards are a commonsense protection for God's Creation and our most vulnerable communities," said the Rev. Karen Brau, of Luther Place Memorial Church and Interfaith Power & Light. "It is unacceptable for Ford to turn its back on communities who are being ravaged by pollution and climate change."
Despite publicly portraying itself as committed to acting on climate change, Ford has been asking for "flexibilities" (or loopholes) to the current standards. For instance, in an Oct. 2018 comment to the EPA and NHTSA, Ford touted a dubious study sponsored by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers that repeats flawed and criticized assumptions made in the administration's analysis of costs, benefits and the impact of a rollback on consumers. In the comment, Ford indicates support for a range of alternative standards suggested by the administration, all of which would increase pollution and cost consumers more at the gas pumps.
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America's largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.
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