Toyota has backed off from working directly with the Environmental Protection Agency on improving the EPA’s management processes. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has a long history of working so closely with Industry that the word “collusion” comes to mind, said in a Congressional Hearing in December that the EPA planned to hire Toyota to evaluate the EPA’s internal practices and management structure. That caused a certain uproar because there’s a large risk of cross-purposes were Toyota and the EPA were to work together – given the EPA’s regulatory oversight role over Toyota and other automakers. Today, Toyota announced that the company and the EPA have ended talks related to starting the partnership.
Pruitt’s comments came at a Dec. 7 hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he told lawmakers: “We are actually partnering with Toyota to begin a lean process at the agency to evaluate management practices.” According to a report at the time in the Huffington Post, this caused obvious concern among former EPA staffers and others of potential conflicts of interest.
To reiterate – the potential for conflict of interest is because the EPA has regulatory oversight over Toyota among the other automakers. Obviously, if Toyota were to be hired to work for the EPA, there’d be opportunity for Toyota to influence the EPA in some way.
By way of example, the Environmental Working Group sent a letter to Toyota urging the company to call off talks with the EPA. EWG President Ken 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.”
The nature of the work Toyota would have done with the EPA is proselytizing “The Toyota Way”. Recall that Toyota has a highly efficient management and decision-making structure that has helped Toyota remain a very powerful global automaker. Toyota, the automaker, has a nonprofit affiliate called the Toyota Production System Support Center, which is the organization that was negotiating with the EPA.
The Toyota Production System Support Center has consulted with many organization on management practices.
Toyota explained in a response to the EWG that HUD, New York State, the City of Louisville, and other organizations, have benefited from collaborations with the TSSC. Before launching a formal engagement, the TSSC and a prospective organization holds a series of talks through which they determine what will occur, if anything. During those discussions with the EPA, it was decided to call off the project.
Public Citizen issued a statement saying in part: Had Toyota really been hired by the EPA, it would have been a textbook case of the fox guarding the henhouse. Fortunately, in the case of the Toyota-Pruitt Partnership, public pressure was able to change corporate action. But that pressure doesn’t end today. In the months ahead, we’ll continue calling on automakers to sever ties with the dirty and dangerous deregulatory push coming from President Trump.
- Uber self-driving car fatality: Everyone is to blame - May 26, 2018
- Dept of Energy aims for high speed EV charging network in new Grant program - May 14, 2018
- Uber self-driving car fatality blamed on faulty software - May 7, 2018
- Orange Button data taxonomy for solar financial reporting launches with developer meeting - April 20, 2018
- Self-driving vehicles need to crawl before they walk, and walk before they run - April 5, 2018
- Rapid adoption of self-driving cars considered harmful, a plea for caution - April 2, 2018
- Electric cars with 400 mile range are coming, and may need DC Fast Charging at home - March 22, 2018
- CharIN alliance meets on Tesla’s doorstep, presents CCS as the best DC Fast Charging system for electric cars - March 20, 2018
- US Govt warns Russia attacking US energy sector, renewable industry responds with cybersecurity working group - March 16, 2018
- Tesla Motors versus the other Car Makers and the future of the Car industry - February 25, 2018