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Consumers Union: EPA’s plan to bring Toyota to review management process is a clear conflict of interest

Friday, December 8, 2017

WASHINGTON – In testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt revealed a plan to invite Toyota Motor Company to assist in overhauling the internal management practices at the agency. Responding to the clear conflict of interest, David Friedman, director of cars and product policy and analysis for Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports, issued the following statement:

“Having a company that is regulated by the agency serve as a consultant to reform management practices presents a serious conflict of interest,” Friedman said. “This is like having the fox as your consultant for how to manage your hen house.”

Though their two lobbying alliances, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Global Automakers, Toyota, joined other automakers to called on EPA Administrator Pruitt to weaken vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy protections on February 21, 2017.

“EPA is in the midst of pursuing major changes to the federal fuel economy and greenhouse gas program that will impact automaker targets for complying with the program and could result in major costs on consumers and worsen air pollution,” Friedman continued. “It is inappropriate for an agency as vital as EPA to even allow for the appearance of a conflict of interest with an industry player it is supposed to be regulating. EPA’s inspector general should quickly open an investigation into this matter.”