April 2, 2018
Greenpeace USA * Public Citizen * Safe Climate Campaign
300 Alarm Clocks Send Message to Ford: Wake Up! Stop Colluding With Trump to Make Cars Dirty Again
As the EPA Sides With Automakers to Reverse Clean Car Standards, Advocates Demonstrate Outside Ford’s Washington, D.C., Headquarters
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Three hundred alarm clocks rang simultaneously today outside the headquarters of Ford Motor Company to send a message to the company: Wake up and stop colluding with the Trump administration to weaken clean car standards.
The event preceded an expected announcement by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt that America’s clean car standards are “inappropriate.” The administration plans to roll back the standards, even though they have successfully reduced harmful emissions and saved consumers money at the pump.
The groups that organized the event – Public Citizen, Greenpeace USA and Safe Climate Campaign – delivered a literal wake-up call to Ford. The clocks were flanked by large signs highlighting the company’s efforts with President Donald Trump to roll back the clean cars standards and “make cars dirty again.” Event organizers distributed fact sheets about what’s at stake if the standards were to be rolled back.
Today’s action is part of a broader effort by the Forward Not Backward campaign to demand that Ford and other automakers live up to their commitments and stop trying to undo the popular fuel economy standards. The rules, which were finalized in 2012 and set mile-per-gallon goals for automakers to meet by model year 2025, have curbed climate change-causing pollution, saved consumers money at the pump, prompted automakers to innovate, improved health and increased national security.
“Rolling back the clean car standards is a disaster for our climate and for consumers,” said Madeline Page, campaign coordinator for Public Citizen. “That’s why we are here to give a wake-up call to Ford about the consequences of its push with the Trump administration. Consumers will not stand by quietly. We are sounding the alarm about Ford’s dangerous efforts.”
Automakers, labor groups and environmentalists stood beside President Barack Obama as he announced the clean car standards in 2011. The rules already are delivering benefits and by 2025 will ensure that:
Tailpipe climate emissions are cut in half and vehicle fuel efficiency is nearly doubled;
Individual consumers will save $3,200 to $5,700 in fuel costs over the life of their vehicle;
Six billion metric tons of tailpipe climate pollution – the equivalent of a year’s worth of pollution from 150 power plants – will not be released; and
Oil consumption will be reduced by 12 billion barrels.
Despite helping craft the standards, automakers have pushed to roll them back since Trump’s election. Ford and other automakers have attacked the standards at every turn – most recently using their trade association to publish regulatory comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that cast doubt on commonly accepted climate science and the link between air pollution and adverse health impacts. Amid mounting pressure from advocates, Ford issued a statement last week saying it supports the clean car standards but in the same statement acknowledged it was seeking loopholes.
In January 2017, the EPA concluded that America’s clean car standards are working and achievable, and should not be rolled back. Yet, at the behest of Ford and other automakers, without any change in the facts, Pruitt is expected to reverse that decision early this week, ignoring the thousands of pages of research and analysis that support keeping the standards.
According to media reports, Pruitt is renting a room in a Capitol Hill townhouse co-owned by health care lobbyist Vicki Hart, whose husband J. Steven Hart lobbies for industries that have business before the EPA. Among his clients: the American Automotive Policy Council, which includes the automakers Fiat Chrysler, Ford and General Motors. Ford and General Motors have met with EPA staff to discuss fuel economy standards. All three are members of the Auto Alliance, which has been pressing for the EPA to reconsider the standards.
“Ford has failed to wake to the threats to health and the environment caused by the millions of tons of pollution that spew from the gas guzzlers it makes,” said Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign. “The fact that Ford just denied that it is lobbying the Trump administration to roll back the clean car rules the company agreed to and promised to support, shows that it needs to wake up and smell its pollution.”
Despite the automakers’ efforts, the rules are popular. Earlier this year, nearly 150,000 supportive public comments by advocates, as well as comments by Fortune 500 companies, health organizations, and environmental and consumer groups were submitted during the public comment periods. That is in addition to more than 300,000 supportive comments submitted during the original 2016 evaluation.
“Rigorous analysis has shown that rolling back strong fuel standards will mean more greenhouse gases heating up our climate and more air pollutants in our lungs,” said Natalie Nava, project leader at Greenpeace USA. “With these alarm clocks, we’re sending a message to Ford on behalf of the millions of Americans whose health will be affected by today’s decision, particularly those communities that live near freeways, refineries and extraction sites. We condemn the EPA’s decision on behalf of these affected populations.”