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Toyota Urged to Reject Tainted 'Partnership' Claimed by Destructive EPA Chief
The Environmental Working Group is urging Toyota to reject a partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), because EPA chief Scott Pruitt's plan to "evaluate management practices" is cover for his real agenda of destroying the agency's ability to do its job.
In a letter sent Wednesday to James Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America, EWG President Ken Cook wrote that helping Pruitt "manage EPA into the ground" would betray the ideals of quality, effectiveness and efficiency represented by the vaunted "Toyota Way" and the company's reputation for and commitment to environmental responsibility.
"Mr. Lentz, if you were managing Toyota the way Scott Pruitt is managing the EPA, your annual 'Toyotathon' would be featuring showrooms stocked with Edsels and Studebakers, not the fleet of advanced, pioneering, energy-efficient models that for decades have strongly appealed to environmentally conscious American buyers," Cook wrote.
"We urge you to immediately and unambiguously announce Toyota's rejection of any management partnership with EPA and Administrator Scott Pruitt," the letter said. "To do otherwise risks irreparable harm to Toyota's brand and reputation in the American marketplace."
At a Dec. 7 hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Pruitt testified that Toyota is "partnering" with the EPA to help the agency correct deficiencies in the agency's management and accountability systems. A Toyota spokeswoman later told HuffPost that the company is considering working with the EPA but has not yet reached an agreement. But Cook said the very prospect of a partnership is cause for concern.
"Nothing in Mr. Pruitt's actions or public statements to date as head of the EPA, or in his prior role as Oklahoma's attorney general, suggests that he comes to issues of EPA's performance, management and effectiveness with an impartial interest in improving the agency through any management techniques," Cook wrote. "To the contrary, Mr. Pruitt already has an overarching objective for the EPA: to destroy its ability to achieve its mission."
Toyota's website states: "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."
By contrast, in his first year at the helm of the EPA, Pruitt has reversed, or is seeking to reverse regulations to boost automobile fuel economy standards and other clean air initiatives, as well as rules on clean water, pesticides and toxic chemicals. He's advocated crippling cuts to the agency's budget, ignored career scientists and other experts in favor of political appointees from the industries they now regulate, and replaced independent scientific advisors with consultants whose work has been funded by big polluters.
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Climate change is having a grizzly effect on Mount Everest as melting snow and glaciers reveal some of the bodies of climbers who died trying to scale the world's highest peak.
The Navajo Nation have decided to stop pursuing the acquisition of a beleaguered coal-fired power plant in Arizona, locking in the plant to be taken offline and its associated coal mine to close later this year.
A Navajo Nation Council committee voted 11-9 last week to stop pursuing the purchase of the 2,250-megawatt Navajo Generating Station, which with the Kayenta coal mine provides more than 800 jobs to primarily Navajo and Hopi workers as well as tribal royalties.
A coalition of utilities that own the plant said in 2017 it would cease operations due to increased economic pressure, and the plant's future has proved a flash point for national and regional energy policy and raised larger questions on how Native communities will handle ties to fossil fuel industries as the economy changes.
For a deeper dive:
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