By Luke Tonachel, Natural Resources Defense Council
Several of the biggest names in automobiles are siding with the Trump administration in efforts to roll back clean car standards and strip states of their authority to set standards needed to protect public health. NRDC’s President and CEO Gina McCarthy says that these automakers need to reverse course:
“We should be producing the cars of the future, not ceding the clean-car market to other countries. It’s unacceptable for these auto executives to side with President Trump as he works to endanger the health and welfare of millions of Americans. These commonsense tailpipe standards create jobs, cut costs at the pump and help us address the climate crisis. If they continue on this path, the auto companies will find themselves on the wrong side of history—and facing a consumer backlash.”
Gina joined the leaders of the Environmental Defense Fund, League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club and Union of Concerned Scientists in the public letter below to top executives of General Motors, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, and Mitsubishi calling on them to drop their litigation efforts and instead focus on innovating to build the clean vehicles that our nation needs to protect our health and climate from tailpipe pollution.
You can send a letter to the offending automakers, too, via this link.
Four automakers are absent from the letter because they are not supporting Trump’s attack on car standards and state authority. Ford, Honda, BMW and VW agreed with California to continue emission improvements across their national fleets and also acknowledged the authority of states to enforce their own stronger standards. The California-automaker agreement—which is open to all companies—is far stronger than Trump’s rollback plan but not quite as strong as the federal Obama administration standards that should be maintained.
NRDC and our partner organizations are working hard to block the Trump administration rollback efforts. State authority to set clean car standards was established by Congress in the Clean Air Act. It will be upheld in court. The Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency recently submitted dramatically weakened standards for final review by the White House. We will fight those as well because, if finalized, they will dramatically increase dangerous pollution, increase U.S. oil consumption and make driving costlier for everyone.
The Trump administration is stuck in reverse and several automakers have decided to ride shotgun. It’s not too late for them to jump out. There’s still time for them instead move forward and make the clean cars that America needs and wants.