The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Brian Nowicki, Center for Biological Diversity, (916) 201-6938,

Bailout Should Include Fuel Efficiency Improvements, Safeguards for Consumers and the Environment

Statement by Center for Biological Diversity on Financial Bailout for U.S. Automakers


Congress is expected to vote this week on a financial bailout for U.S. automakers Ford, GM, and Chrysler. The first installment of 15 billion dollars is expected to come from a fund set up by Congress last year to encourage investment in fuel-efficiency technologies in the automobile industry. However, the current proposal includes no measures to foster fuel-efficiency or technology development.

"The U.S. automobile manufacturers' relentless opposition to fuel economy and emissions improvements has been a major contributor to both the climate crisis and the current economic crisis," said Kassie Siegel, climate program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. "Amazingly, this damaging opposition continues even while the corporations seek a taxpayer funded bailout. Congress must include measures to increase fuel economy, reduce greenhouse emissions, and protect American taxpayers and consumers in any financial bailout of the auto industry."

In a letter sent today (see link below), the Center has called on Congressional leaders to include three common-sense measures in the automaker bailout:

a) Granting California a waiver under the Clean Air Act to implement its greenhouse gas emission motor vehicle standards. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Bush Administration has unlawfully denied the waiver.

b) Directing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the Department of Transportation to revise currently proposed corporate average fuel efficiency (CAFE) standards for model years 2011-2016 based on (1) the use of realistic economic estimates of the costs of climate change impacts, (2) adoption of a more accurate calculation for vehicle fuel economy proposed by the EPA, and (3) consideration of all the technologies available for improving fuel economy and the environmental and societal impacts of low fuel economy standards.

c) Requiring as a condition to any automotive corporation receiving funds through the bailout that the corporation: 1) dismiss any lawsuits it is currently pursuing to block state efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, and 2) to submit to Congress (and NHTSA) plans for accelerating production schedules for fuel-efficient vehicle models, and to greatly expand fleet mix of these vehicles.

The letter from the Center for Biological Diversity is available at:

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

(520) 623-5252