Four Leading Environmental and Science Groups Call on Automakers to Support Clean Car Standards

December 2, 2020
Sharyn Stein, EDF, 202-905-5718,

(Washington, D.C. – December 2, 2020) The leaders of four of America’s largest and most influential environmental and science organizations – Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and Union of Concerned Scientists – are jointly calling on eight automakers to withdraw from a Trump administration lawsuit challenging state clean car authority, and instead lead America toward the clean cars of the future.

The Trump administration has finalized rules to roll back the popular and successful national Clean Car Standards while also eliminating states’ authority to set protective clean car standards – authority that is part of the Clean Air Act and has been in use for more than half a century. California and 13 other states and the District of Columbia – representing more than a third of U.S. new car sales – have committed to strong clean car standards.

Both Trump administration rollbacks are being challenged in court, including by the four major environmental and science groups. A number of key auto manufacturers, including Ford and Honda, are publicly supporting the states’ clean car standards. However, other automakers joined the lawsuit in support of the Trump administration.

Last week, General Motors announced that it was withdrawing from the lawsuit. GM CEO Mary Barra said “the ambitious electrification goals of the President-elect, California, and General Motors are aligned to address climate change by drastically reducing automobile emissions” and expressed confidence “that the Biden Administration, California, and the U.S. auto industry, which supports 10.3 million jobs, can collaboratively find the pathway that will deliver an all-electric future.”

Eight other automakers – Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota – are still part of the lawsuit in support of the Trump administration.

Today, the heads of the four environmental and science groups released the following joint statement, calling on those eight automakers to show immediate leadership in support of clean car standards:

“The federal and California clean car standards have saved thousands of lives from deadly air pollution, are the most important climate safeguards in our nation, and save families hard-earned money at the gas pump at a time when every dollar saved could not be more important. The American people have been asked to pay a heavy price for the recent attacks on these life-saving protections with their health and their pocket books.

“We respectfully request that you immediately withdraw from litigation against the vital U.S. and state clean cars program. We also ask that you publicly commit to provide leadership in supporting the next generation of clean car standards to help eliminate the array of climate, nitrogen oxides and particulate pollution from new motor vehicles by 2035 while creating new high quality jobs.”

- Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund

- Gina McCarthy, president and CEO of Natural Resources Defense Council

- Michael Brune, executive director of Sierra Club

- Kenneth Kimmell, president of Union of Concerned Scientists

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