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BIG THREE AUTOMAKERS FAILING TO 'VOLUNTARILY' REDUCE TOXIC EMISSIONS, STUDY FINDS

 ANN ARBOR, Mich., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The Big Three U.S. automakers are achieving poor results on a voluntary agreement made two years ago to reduce toxic emissions in the Great Lakes, according to a study released today by a coalition of Great Lakes environmental groups.
 The study analyzes the performance of the Big Three since the September 1991 Auto Industry Prevention Project Agreement with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). That agreement, announced by Michigan Gov. John Engler on behalf of Great Lakes governors prior to the 6th Biennial (U.S.-Canadian) International Joint Commission, called for automakers and suppliers to voluntarily reduce the emission of persistent toxics, especially through improved manufacturing processes and product design.
 "After two years, the Big Three have not produced toxic pollution surveys needed for targeting reductions, brought their suppliers into the agreement, or targeted any specific toxics with goals or timetables," said Charles Griffith, Ecology Center Toxics Reduction Project Director. "This lack of performance raises serious doubts about whether voluntarism can work with the Big Three."
 Failure to include the suppliers, Griffith noted, is a major problem, since the suppliers generate far more pollution than the Big Three. The study also criticizes the automakers and MDNR for failing to make other stakeholders -- such as environmental groups and labor unions -- formal partners in the process.
 Griffith also cautioned the media not to confuse data soon to be released under the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI, required by the EPA) with the voluntary project. "The TRI data may show reductions, but the Big Three must not claim credit for reductions due to projects started long before the Auto Project," said Griffith.
 The center also argued that the Big Three's poor performance raises doubts about the recently announced "clean car" initiative to transfer defense technology to develop a much more fuel-efficient automobile. "Voluntary projects, if pursued correctly, have great promise for reducing major environmental problems, but the first two years of initiative are a poor model," said Griffith.
 -0- 10/21/93
 /EDITOR'S NOTE: The study's release precedes the 7th Biennial IJC meeting, which will commence Oct. 22 in Windsor, Ontario.
 /CONTACT: Charles Griffith, 313-663-2400, for the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor/
 (F C GM)


CO: General Motors; Ford; Chrysler ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU: ENV

LG -- NY014 -- 4386 10/20/93 08:41 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 20, 1993
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