Ford Fulfills Commitment; Withdraws from Left-Wing U.S. Climate Action Partnership
Ford CEO Had Been Pressed on Ford's Membership in Anti-Energy USCAP Lobbying Group by National Center for Public Policy Research
Washington, D.C. - Following pressure from the National Center for Public Policy Research, the Ford Motor Company has withdrawn its membership in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a liberal corporate-environmental movement lobby organization that lobbies for federal laws limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
Ford CEO Alan Mullaly committed to reconsidering his company's membership in USCAP after being pressed on the matter publicly at the company's 2011 stockholder meeting and in subsequent private conversation by the National Center for Public Policy Research's David A. Ridenour.
"We congratulate Alan Mulally not only for keeping his word to review Ford's membership in USCAP, but for making the right decision by withdrawing. The regulations USCAP seeks would prove costly to the auto industry and jeopardize the recovery while still in its infancy," said David Ridenour, President of the National Center for Public Policy Research. "By withdrawing from the group, Mulally demonstrated the same kind of sound judgment that enabled Ford to be the only major U.S. auto company to avoid government-sponsored bankruptcy protection."
Ridenour and the National Center for Public Policy Research are Ford shareholders.
At the shareholder meeting, Ridenour asked Ford's management, in part (full transcript available at http://www.nationalcenter.org/FordShareholderTranscript051211.pdf):
...My question pertains to Ford's membership in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a corporate-environmentalist alliance that seeks, and I quote, “legislation requiring significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions."
Ford's membership in USCAP is surprising, given that Ford produces products that run on fossil fuel;, less fuel efficient vehicles, such as the F-150s and the Econoline vans accounted for 30% of your April sales; and some of Ford's most reliable customers for these products — farmers, ranchers, construction companies — run energy-intensive businesses that are highly sensitive to fuel price increases that Ford is effectively lobbying for through USCAP. Furthermore, USCAP membership engenders ill-will for Ford among the new majority in Congress. Will you re-evaluate your membership in USCAP, especially in the light of the fact that even Government Motors — excuse me, General Motors — has withdrawn from USCAP, as have John Deere and Caterpillar?
Finally, I'd like to share with your board, with your permission, a poll we have commissioned on the reaction of conservatives — who represent a strong plurality of your customers — to corporations lobbying for cap-and-trade, as Ford, again, is effectively doing through its membership in USCAP. We surveyed attitudes about two other corporations, but haven't surveyed opinions about Ford... yet. One corporation's favorability rating dropped 31 points while another's dropped 50 points because of their support for cap-and-trade. Have you fully analyzed the risks of continued USCAP membership?
"Don't give the keys to your cars to Washington," Ridenour concluded.
Speaking publicly in response to Ridenour, Mullaly said Ford constantly reviews its memberships and alliances. Without expressly using the term, he said Ford received public relations benefits from USCAP membership, and was able "to participate in the drafting of [the Energy and Security Act / cap-and-trade] legislation." That legislation, commonly known as Waxman-Markey, was approved by the then-Democrat-controlled House, but died in the Senate.
Ridenour subsequently met privately with Mullaly and was encouraged by the message he received.
"Alan Mulally acknowledged that federal mandates for lower vehicle greenhouse gas emissions pose significant risks to his industry, but that Ford's participation in the lobby group had allowed it to have input into legislation," said David Ridenour. "The best way to stop legislation that will cripple your industry from being passed isn't to participate in writing it, but to oppose it."
The National Center for Public Policy Research congratulates Ford for this decision.
Corporate USCAP members reportedly provide six-figure grants to the green lobby group USCAP as a condition of membership. Following pressure from the National Center for Public Policy Research, Ford, Caterpillar, John Deere, ConocoPhillips, BP and GM have all withdrawn from USCAP.
The National Center For Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org) is a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. It is supported by the voluntary gifts of over 100,000 individual recent supporters, receiving about one percent of its revenue from corporate sources. Contributions to it are tax-deductible.