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Air Quality

Published on December 15th, 2017 | by Nicolas Zart

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Environmental Working Group Warns Toyota About Its Promise To Clean The Environment On Its Website

December 15th, 2017 by  


Environmental Working Group Warns ToyotaOh, Toyota, when will you ever learn!

Toyota is an odd company for those of us who cover the electric vehicle (EV) industry. For one thing, we don’t have much to write about. Toyota has had a best-selling hybrid for the past two decades that has somewhat evolved over time. Over a decade ago when many of its drivers demanded a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version, it landed on deaf ears. After years of companies installing PHEV kits in the early Prius, Toyota finally relinquished. Begrudgingly, they offered the Prius PHEV without fanfare. The car sold out in three months, without much help from the company.

This week, we found out Toyota was cozying up to Scott Pruitt, now heading the EPA in order to lower emissions standards.

We’re deliberatly pausing here…

OK, let’s recombobulate. Toyota, the company that claims on its website: “Let’s face it: there’s only one planet Earth. That’s why we focus on environmentally sustainable solutions in everything we do and every vehicle we make.” The company touts its Environmental Challenge 2050 goals of achieving zero or near-zero air pollution emissions from its vehicles, production and disposal processes, and facilities is in cahoots with Scott Pruitt and the EPA?

Environmental Working Group Warns Toyota

If you’ve haven’t heard of Scott Pruitt, and we’re betting you have, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency spent the better part of the last decade suing the agency for its progressive stands on renewable energy. Acting on behalf of the coal industry, Pruitt lobbied hard against the EPA but was rebuffed a few times. That hasn’t slowed down the head of the agency who is now going ahead with its infamous red team-blue team climate exercise. Oh, my, will the corporate shenanigans ever stop in Washington D.C. and will we return to elected officials who represent their constituents? As we vote the way we do, we won’t. But we digress.

Toyota Says But Considers Otherwise?

Those of us who understand the industry always smile when people say they love their electric Prius. While the Prius is a good car and certainly pushed the electricification of cars on the map, other carmakers have been offering better hybrids since. Essentially, the Prius hasn’t changed much, save for a questionable facelift this year, a few pounds, and a look that says new but still the same.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is urging Toyota to reject a partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency. The EWG sent a letter to James Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota Motor North America saying: “We were shocked to learn that Toyota is “partnering” with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and his staff “to begin a lean process at the agency to evaluate management practices.”

Environmental Working Group Warns Toyota

Pruitt described this partnership on Dec. 7, in the context of telling Chairman John Shimkus of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that there are numerous, major deficiencies in the agency’s management and accountability systems. Isn’t it the case for our entire political system?

To be fair, a Toyota spokeswoman later told HuffPost reporter Alexander C. Kaufman that the company is considering working with the EPA, but has not yet reached an agreement.

The EWG reminds us that the head of the EPA has already slashed a 30 percent cut in the EPA’s budget with no review whatsoever. This cut will gut core programs, state grants, initiatives such as Energy Star, and the capacity of EPA’s scientists to base policy on the best available science. Pruitt has routinely isolated or ignored career scientists, attorneys, and regulators in favor of granting power and authority to political appointees drawn from the ranks of the industries they now regulate. Add insult to injury, Pruitt has summarily fired independent scientists who play a vital role advising the agency and replaced them with industry experts who are burdened with deep conflicts of interest. He has also reversed or is seeking to reverse, major environmental regulatory decisions affecting automobile fuel economy standards, clean air, clean water, pesticides and toxic chemicals. An already tall order for a year in power.

Toyota taking interest in a partnership could mire its brand image further. The company is already coming out from five years of car recalls. This would be a PR nightmare.

You can read the rest of the Environmental Working Group here.

Making Sense Of Why Toyota Would Cozy Up To Scott Pruitt and The Limping EPA

We’re disturbed to see the overtake of the Federal government agencies and commissions by industry lobbyists and corporate interest more. Striking a balance would be a much wiser way to lead the country going forward and try to catch with juggernaut China and other countries chasing on the heels of the US.

This writer leans neither to the left nor the right when the two parties that monopolize our country are far removed from the original ideologies. This administration seems to represent more corporate interests than the public it swore to serve. It should be reminded that 80 percent of the GDP comes from small to mid-size businesses, not lobbies and industry interests.

Come on Toyota, we expect much better than you in this day and age of the Internet and instant communication. We are very far from the “Toyota Way” so strongly vaunted at every commercials we are bombarded with.

Environmental Working Group Warns Toyota


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About the Author

Nicolas was born and raised around classic cars of the 1920s, but it wasn't until he drove an AC Propulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Eager to spread the news of that full torque, he was invited to write for various CleanTech outlets in 2007. Since then, his passion led to cover renewable energy, test drives, podcasts, shoot pictures, and film for various international outlets both in print and online. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he has forged in those industries. He particularly enjoys communicating about the new e-mobility technology and what it means to us as a society. Today he focuses most of his writing effort on CleanTechnica, a global online outlet that covers the world of electric vehicles and renewable energy. His favorite tagline is: "There are more solutions than obstacles."



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