Ben Jervey

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Ben Jervey has been covering and working in the climate, energy, and environmental fields for a decade. He is regular contributor to DeSmogBlog. He was the original Environment Editor for GOOD Magazine, and wrote a longstanding weekly column titled “The New Ideal: Building the clean energy economy of the 21st Century and avoiding the worst fates of climate change.” He also contributes to National Geographic News, Grist, OnEarth Magazine, and many other online and print publications. His book–The Big Green Apple: Your Guide to Eco-Friendly Living in New York City–has been called the “bible of green living for NYC.” A bicycle enthusiast, Ben has ridden across the United States and through much of Europe.

Kochs' Americans for Prosperity Group Launches Campaign to Crush Fuel Economy Standards

Read time: 3 mins
Shell station sign showing gas prices around $5.00 a gallon in 2008

Americans For Prosperity (AFP), a political advocacy network funded by the petrochemical billionaire Koch brothers, recently launched a campaign to support President Donald Trump’s efforts to roll back fuel efficiency and automobile emissions standards.

Through social media feeds of the many AFP state chapters, the group is promoting a petition to “Repeal Costly Obama-era Fuel Standards.”

Koch-Funded Groups—Yet Again—Speak Out Against Electric Vehicle Tax Credits

Read time: 6 mins
Nissan Leaf Electric car charging in front of San Francisco City Hall

A coalition of thirty conservative free-market advocacy organizations — the majority of which have clear ties to Charles and David Koch through their funding or leadership — have sent a letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) urging that Congress halt any expansion of the electric vehicle tax credit, or scrap it entirely.

Trump Administration Officially Proposes Rolling Back Clean Car Standards

Read time: 7 mins
Trump in truck

In a long expected move, the Trump administration announced Thursday morning that it is proposing to weaken the Obama-era clean car emissions and fuel efficiency standards, and that it will seek to limit California's authority to set tougher standards.

The proposal, first reported last week, comes from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and suggests freezing fuel economy targets at 2020 levels through 2026, along with a number of other less-preferred options.

Trump Administration to Halt Clean Car Standards, Revoke California's Right to Regulate

Read time: 7 mins

The Trump administration will announce plans this week to revoke California’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions for automobiles, according to inside sources quoted by Bloomberg.

This directly contradicts comments made by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) air chief, William Wehrum, who said in January that the agency had “no interest whatsoever in withdrawing CA's authority to regulate.”

Colorado Adopts California Clean Car Standards in Defiance of Trump Admin

Read time: 5 mins
Colorado truck license plate

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced Tuesday that his state would join 13 states and the District of Columbia in adopting California’s clean car emissions standards.

Colorado has a choice,” Gov. Hickenlooper said in a statement. “This executive order calls for the state to adopt air quality standards that will protect our quality of life in Colorado. Low emissions vehicles are increasingly popular with consumers and are better for our air. Every move we make to safeguard our environment is a move in the right direction.”

These Auto Industry Companies Are Demanding Strong Clean Car Standards, Despite Trump

Read time: 4 mins
Average MPG on a dashboard

There’s a major sector of the automobile industry that is unwavering in its support of strong clean car standards: auto parts manufacturers.

Carmakers, through the powerful Auto Alliance trade group, have flip-flopped on fuel economy and emissions targets for cars and light duty trucks — claiming they aren’t for rollbacks even after lobbying for them. On the other hand, auto parts suppliers have consistently argued on behalf of strong national standards, going against the direction currently pursued by the Trump administration.

On Rollbacks, Automakers Tell Trump 'Not So Fast,' Kochs Say 'Burn More Gas'

Read time: 5 mins
Trump and Pence meet with automaker industry leaders

It’s a classic case of be careful what you wish for. Automakers asked the Trump administration to weaken emissions and efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, and are now anxious about just how much the Trump administration actually plans to weaken the standards.

On Friday, May 12, heads of car companies visited the White House, to make the awkward request that Trump not actually give them what they asked for.

17 States Sue EPA Over Pruitt's Decision to Weaken Auto Standards

Read time: 5 mins
EPA union employees and supporters hold signs protesting Pruitt

It didn’t take long for the first legal challenges be filed against the Trump administration’s recent move to weaken automobile emissions standards. On April 3, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew the Obama-era decision to retain the greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and trucks for model years 2022-2025. On Tuesday, 17 states and the District of Columbia sued the agency, challenging Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision.

The lawsuit is short and direct — only 122 words, including the names of the 17 states — petitioning the District of Columbia Circuit Court to review EPA’s decision under the Clean Air Act.

Pruitt’s decision was immediately applauded by the oil industry and car companies through the powerful Auto Alliance trade group. It was simultaneously bashed by environmental and consumers’ rights groups who criticized the agency for replacing a comprehensive review by the Obama EPA with a shallow analysis that borrowed the auto industry’s talking points.

CNN Wrongly Blames Electric Cars for Unethical Cobalt Mining

Read time: 6 mins
A foreman holds cobalt in his hand in Rwanda

This week, CNN published a startling multimedia report on cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The investigation revealed troubling conditions in so-called “artisanal” cobalt mines, where hand mining operations are carried out with a combination of unsafe working conditions and child labor. As is all too often the case with resource extraction — whether for cobalt in Congo, oil in Ecuador, or coal in West Virginia — unsafe, unhealthy local labor practices deserve media exposure.

Unfortunately, CNN’s promotion of the investigation and headline misappropriate the blame, leaving casual readers to conclude that electric vehicles are responsible for these awful labor conditions.

Ford Touts 'Green' Image While Arguing for Weaker Efficiency Standards and Planning to Sell Only Trucks

Read time: 6 mins
Mustang tailpipe

Ford Motor Company would really like the public to believe that it supports strong emissions and efficiency standards for personal vehicles. Just ask Board Chair Bill Ford and President and CEO Jim Hackett, who recently wrote: “We support increasing clean car standards through 2025 and are not asking for a rollback.”

However, a “rollback” is exactly what EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, in his own language, has promised, and his planned rewrite of auto emissions standards has been guided almost exclusively by the input of Ford and other automakers through the powerful Alliance of Auto Manufacturers (the Auto Alliance).

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