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Activists Sound the Alarm to Ford: It’s Time to Save the Clean Cars Standards

Sept. 25, 2018

Public Citizen * Sierra Club

Activists Sound the Alarm to Ford: It’s Time to Save the Clean Cars Standards

**Listen to the telephone press conference here.**

DEARBORN, Mich. – Shortly before the start of today’s federal public hearing on a proposed rollback of the clean car standards, Sierra Club and Public Citizen delivered a wake-up call to Ford – literally – that working with the Trump administration to put the standards in reverse is unacceptable.

With an installation of several dozen vintage-style alarm clocks, the groups sounded the alarm that it is past time for Ford to stand with American families and dump the Trump rollback.

If left in place, the Obama-era clean car standards – also known as fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards – would double vehicle efficiency, save consumers $50 billion in fuel in 2030 costs and reduce oil consumption by up to 4 million barrels every day. A March 2018 poll found that nearly seven in 10 American voters want the existing standards to remain in place.

After President Donald Trump took office, Ford and other automakers worked behind the scenes to urge the administration to roll back the standards.

Last week, however, Ford Motor Company, under significant pressure from a broad coalition of organizations and the public, appeared to reverse its stance on the proposed rollback. While speaking at the Midwestern Governors Association in Columbus, Ohio, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said (audio available here from 19:49 to 20:20) the company was “in favor of keeping the standard,” and that the company has “plans to meet it.” But the company has yet to unequivocally condemn the rollback.

In August the administration proposed freezing the standards at 2020 levels and revoking a provision that allows 13 states to protect their citizens from harmful tailpipe pollution. Ford previously advocated both legislative and regulatory moves to create more “flexibilities” or loopholes but those calls were notably absent from Hackett’s remarks Wednesday.

“Ford broke the public’s trust when it secretly lobbied Trump and his cronies to hit the brakes on the clean car standards,” said Mike Berkowitz, legislative and political director of the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter. “If Ford truly supports these life-saving standards, then it’s time to stand up and say so. We’re calling on Ford to pick a side: the health and safety of the American public, or your friends in the White House.”

“This is a moment where we have an opportunity to think beyond short-term profits and politics and consider the world we’re leaving to future generations,” said Dahn Brickner longtime auto industry-writer and Detroit native. “I imagine my future grandchildren asking what me what did during this shameful period. Let’s do the right thing.”

Madeline Page, clean cars campaign coordinator of Public Citizen, added, “The clean car standards are critical safeguards that protect our climate, pocketbooks and public health. Ford’s shift from policy-crafter with President Obama to rollback co-conspirator with President Trump is shameful, but there’s still time to change course. That starts with condemning this administration’s proposed rule and unequivocally supporting the existing standards.”

The proposed rollback would cause 6 billion more tons of carbon pollution to be dumped into the atmosphere that would have otherwise been prevented – a direct attack on the health and safety of America’s children and public health.