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Consumer and Environmental Groups Demand Clean Car Standards Be Protected

* Sierra Club * Public Citizen * Safe Climate Campaign *

Aug. 2, 2018

Nissa Koerner, Sierra Club, nissa.koerner@sierraclub.org, (202) 675-2392
Angela Bradbery, Public Citizen, abradbery@citizen.org, (202) 588-7741
Grace Garver, Safe Climate Campaign, ggarver@autosafety.org, (202) 328-7700

Consumer and Environmental Groups Demand Clean Car Standards Be Protected

With Cardboard Cutouts of Children Wearing Surgical Masks, Activists Gather Outside EPA, Ford, Department of Transportation Headquarters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Hours after the Trump administration announced a rollback of clean car standards, activists showed up on the Trump administration’s doorstep with a powerful visual representation of what’s at stake: cardboard cutouts of children. Outside the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters, representatives from the Sierra Club, Public Citizen, and Safe Climate Campaign set up 25 life-sized cardboard cutouts of children wearing surgical masks to highlight that 25 million Americans – including 6 million children – have asthma. With weaker clean car standards, more asthma-causing pollution will be dumped into the atmosphere, representatives said at a press conference near the cutouts.

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Acting National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator Heidi King today announced plans to roll back the clean car standards. This comes after Ford and other automakers waged a costly, multi-year lobbying effort to persuade the Trump Administration to undo the standards that the industry had previously agreed to follow.

After the press conference, the groups moved to Ford’s D.C. headquarters and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) with the display. The rule 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.

The standards, which were agreed to by automakers, labor unions, environmental groups, the EPA, DOT, and California, would double vehicle efficiency, save consumers $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, and reduce oil consumption by up to 4 million barrels every day. A recent poll found that nearly 7 in 10 American voters want the existing standards to remain protected.

“By slamming the brakes on these standards, Trump and his entire administration are making it clear they care more about their corporate friends than the health and safety of the American public,” said Andrew Linhardt, Deputy Advocacy Director of Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All Campaign. “The clean car standards are a crucial step in fighting climate change and ensuring the air we breathe is safe and clean. Ford and every other automaker that lobbied the administration to reverse the standards should be held accountable for putting the public in danger–and that’s exactly what we intend to do.”

“The clean car standards rollback pushed by Ford and the auto industry and announced this week by the Trump Administration is a disaster on every front,” said Madeline Page, Public Citizen’s clean cars campaign coordinator. “Our installation serves as a reminder to the Trump Administration and Ford that there are real people who will suffer because of its callous decision to put corporate profits above the public interest. That this Administration is willing to sell out our children’s health is sadly predictable, but it’s a deal that will lose—politically, in the courts, and with the American people.”

“Ford is hypocritically advertising themselves as a ‘green’ company,” said Grace Garver of the Safe Climate Campaign. “If Ford really cared about being green, they would not have kicked off this outrageous rollback. Ford has the technology to make fuel efficiency a reality. Other auto companies are making use of it. As one of the world’s largest automakers, Ford should be moving forward—innovating cars that are cleaner and more efficient and honoring its stated commitment to protect the environment. It’s time for Ford to be a leader and not a laggard.”