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Activists to Ford: Dump Trump, Protect Consumers

Sept. 19, 2018

Public Citizen * Safe Climate Campaign * Sierra Club

Activists to Ford: Dump Trump, Protect Consumers

While Ford CEO Addresses Midwestern Governors, Consumer and Environmental Advocates Take to the Scioto River to Call Out the Company’s Harmful Lobbying

COLUMBUS, OHIO – With Ford’s chief Jim Hackett inside addressing Ohio Gov. John Kasich and the Midwestern Governors Association, activists outside took to the Scioto River to condemn the company’s closed-door efforts with the Trump administration to undo federal clean car standards.

If left in place, the Obama-era fuel economy standards (also known as the clean car standards) would double vehicle efficiency, save consumers $1.7 trillion in fuel 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 protected.

Today, advocates from Public Citizen, Sierra Club and Safe Climate Campaign took to kayaks on the river and floated a raft carrying a message for Ford: “Dump Trump, Protect Consumers at the Pump.” They warned about the financial burden the rollback would have to the Buckeye State – Ohio families already have saved more than $1.2 billion total thanks to the standards and could save up to $444 per year per vehicle if they remain in place.

Last month, Acting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Acting National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator Heidi King announced plans to freeze the standards at 2020 levels and revoke a provision allowing 13 states to protect their citizens from harmful tailpipe pollution. This came after Ford and other automakers waged a costly, multi-year lobbying effort to persuade the Trump administration to undo the standards – which the industry previously had agreed to follow.

In anticipation of Hackett’s visit to Columbus, Public Citizen, Sierra Club and Safe Climate Campaign ran a full-page ad (PDF) in the Columbus Dispatch today containing a letter to Ford, calling on the automaker to stop trying to unravel the clean car rules.

Before and during the river protest, the groups handed out fact sheets to passersby with information about how the Trump-Ford rollback will harm Ohio families. The rollback is expected to 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.

“While Ford’s CEO spins a tale of innovation and corporate responsibility to Midwestern governors today, the Trump administration – at the automaker’s behest – is one step closer to rolling back clean car standards that protect public health and consumers’ pocketbooks,” said Madeline Page, campaign coordinator for Public Citizen. “It’s a road to ruin, and the public won’t stand by idly.”

“I’m getting on the water with other activists to condemn Ford’s push with the Trump administration to undo our country’s clean car standards,” said Oscar Ramirez, an activist with Public Citizen. “With Ford’s CEO just inside, we serve as a reminder that the company’s rollback will not go unnoticed. It’s time for Ford to protect consumers and dump Trump.”

“Despite its public claims, Ford has lobbied and pushed for Trump’s rollback of the clean car standards,” said Andrew Linhardt, Sierra Club’s deputy advocacy director for the Clean Transportation for All Campaign. “Time and time again, Ford has made it clear that it cares more about its bottom line than the health and safety of its consumers. It’s time for Ford to be held accountable for putting the public in danger – and that’s exactly what we intend to do.”

“Ford should stop working with President Trump to roll back the clean car standards, which will make America polluted again,” said Daniel Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign.

Federal hearings to solicit public input on the proposed rollback will take place in Fresno, Dearborn and Pittsburgh next week. The groups encourage the public to submit comments to the docket or come in person to defend the standards.