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Environmental Defense Denounces Automakers' Alleged 'Deceptions'

July 23, 2002

Environmental Defense on July 23 denounced automakers' choice to continue with what it called "their campaign of deception" by continuing to oppose California AB 1493, a new state law which it said paves the way for dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from California's cars, trucks, and SUVs. Gov. Gray Davis signed AB 1493 into law on July 22 in the wake of its recent passage in the California Legislature, and automakers have announced their plans to challenge the law in court. "Today the auto industry has declared war on the global environment, and they have made California ground zero in their campaign," said Fred Krupp, executive director of Environmental Defense. "They have cynically chosen to continue a campaign of misinformation they hope will confuse the voters of California. Automakers have elected to use money and politics to forestall inevitable change in their business practices, instead of devoting their resources to the challenge of producing the cleaner cars that the future health of the planet requires, just as in their battles against seatbelts, catalytic converters, and the original California Emissions vehicles. They are swimming against the tide, and we will defeat them."In response to the automakers' actions, Environmental Defense announced July 23 its Driving Clean Campaign, which it said will be closely coordinated with the work of Environmental Defense's allies in the environmental community. The campaign will formally commence on July 30 with the release of a study on the carbon pollution created by America's auto manufacturers.Environmental Defense said the campaign will be built on a foundation of scientific research and public education, and will include forthcoming scientific studies and substantial fundraising for legal and legislative advocacy. The campaign "war chest" will be used to defeat the automakers' referendum and legal actions against AB 1493, and to support other states efforts to attack global warming, according to Environmental Defense officials."Given the enormous importance of the issue, Environmental Defense leaders are determined to resist any efforts to weaken climate change laws in California or elsewhere," said Thomas Graff, regional director for the California office of Environmental Defense. "If the automakers succeed in their attempt to overturn the law and the will of 81 percent of Californians, their rhetoric won't be the only thing that's overheated," said Graff, noting the significant effect that warming is already having on California's snowpack, water supplies, agriculture, coastal areas and other aspects he said were "essential to maintaining California's quality of life."Environmental Defense said it will continue working with innovative companies such Federal Express to develop vehicles that meet far more rigorous emissions and fuel efficiency standards than now required by federal regulation -- underscoring, the organizatino said, the fact that appropriate cost-effective technologies are presently available."We will also aggressively call upon auto industry leaders to follow a constructive path, based upon market-oriented incentives, to abate automobile emissions in America," the organization said in a statement.On July 30, Environmental Defense said it will release the results of a year-long analysis in what it calls "a groundbreaking study of global warming pollution and the U.S. auto industry." This study follows Environmental Defense's recent study "Hot Prospects", which examined what it called "the numerous harmful impacts of global warming in Southern California." Other studies conducted by Environmental Defense scientists, economists, and researchers will follow, according to the organization.About Environmental DefenseEnvironmental Defense, a national nonprofit organization based in New York, represents more than 300,000 members.For more information, visit www.environmentaldefense.org.
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