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Toyota Backs Off Partnership With Trump’s EPA Amid Public Concerns

Jan. 17, 2018

Toyota Backs Off Partnership With Trump’s EPA Amid Public Concerns

Statement of Madeline Page, Campaign Coordinator, Public Citizen

Note: At a December hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt stated that the agency was planning to work with Toyota Motor Corporation to streamline the EPA’s internal management structure. The comment was quickly denounced by experts and advocates concerned about the potential conflict of interest associated with a regulated company helping overhaul practices at its regulator. According to reports, Toyota has halted talks about the partnership.

What started as a seemingly off-the-cuff comment by Administrator Pruitt about his management practices at the EPA revealed yet another case of corporate collusion within President Donald Trump’s administration.

Although this type of regulator-regulated partnership always is cause for concern, this news was particularly worrisome. That’s because – at the automakers’ urging – Congress and other Trump agencies are considering plans that would roll back or weaken fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission standards that will save consumers more than $50 billion at the gas pump and prevent the emission of 6 billion metric tons of climate change-inducing pollution.

Had Toyota really been hired by the EPA, it would have been a textbook case of the fox guarding the henhouse. Fortunately, in the case of the Toyota-Pruitt Partnership, public pressure was able to change corporate action. But that pressure doesn’t end today. In the months ahead, we’ll continue calling on automakers to sever ties with the dirty and dangerous deregulatory push coming from President Trump.