SAN FRANCISCO - Bluewater Network--a division of Friends of the Earth, today initiated an advertisement campaign critical of Toyota's environmental policies. The ad rebukes Toyota for suing to overturn California's new regulations to reduce smog and global warming pollution from vehicles, opposing efforts in Congress to significantly raise the federal CAFE fuel mileage standards, and for having worse average fuel mileage in 2005 than in 1990.
The ad, appearing initially in Mother Jones Online and running soon in The NewYork Times and other media, begins with the headline: "Is Toyota a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?" An accompanying photograph of Toyota's president, Mr. Katsuaki Watanabe, depicts him with the head of a wolf, with sheep's wool covering most of his head. It asks for readers to send a letter to Toyota or to call the company headquarters in Torrance, California to demand that the company better protect the environment. The ad can also be viewed at Bluewater Network's web site: http://www.bluewaternetwork.org/telltoyota.
Danielle Fugere, Director of Climate Change at Bluewater Network, said, "Toyota is poised to lead the auto industry on cutting foreign oil dependence, smog, and global warming pollution. Instead, they're fighting against significantly increasing U.S. fuel mileage standards and suing to stop the states from cutting emissions." Fugere continued, "How can they claim to be an environmental leader while undermining the very laws that would protect the planet? Toyota needs to figure out what they stand for, because they can't have it both ways."
Bluewater Network has a history of working to reduce emissions from the auto industry. In 2001, Bluewater conceived and crafted legislation to reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. Since that time, 10 states have either adopted the California law or have stated their desire to do so. In 2005, Canada also enacted similar provisions modeled on the California law, to be implemented on a voluntary basis. Recently, Bluewater convinced the US EPA to revise outdated fuel mileage window labels, which will help to correct inflated mileage estimates that motorists rely upon when buying a new vehicle.
In addition, Bluewater Network has an ongoing campaign against Ford Motors to force the company to work with Congress with the goal of doubling U.S. fuel mileage standards. Last year, Bluewater published ads in The New York Times, The Nation, Mother Jones, and other media outlets depicting the CEO of Ford Motors, Bill Ford, with a Pinocchio nose for breaking his pledge to increase SUV fuel mileage by 25 percent from 2000 to 2005. In 2003, Mr. Ford reneged on his pledge.
"We don't enjoy playing The Truth Squad," said Fugere. "But when the auto industry misleads the public, whether intentionally or not, someone's got to set the record straight."