As "Cash for Clunkers" legislation moves closer to becoming law, the unintended negative consequences of this radical bill should be of concern to all Americans. The legislation, which in theory is supposed to be environmentally-friendly, would actually increase the amount of pollution generated for years to come.
"'Cash for Clunkers' is touted as protecting the environment by taking older vehicles off the road and replacing them with new, more fuel efficient vehicles. The reality is that these scrapped vehicles will be heading to landfills. It's ironic that a proposal designed to reduce pollution will actually further damage the environment," said Aaron Lowe, vice president of government affairs for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). "While the true intention of this legislation is not to protect the environment but to financially stimulate the automobile industry in the short term, the hidden costs of this bill could cause environmental havoc indefinitely."
The "Cash for Clunkers" amendment, included as part of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (HR 2454), states that "For each eligible trade-in vehicle, the title of which is transferred to a dealer under the Program, the dealer shall certify to the Secretary, in such a manner as the Secretary shall prescribe by rule, that the vehicle, including the engine and drive train - i) will be crushed or shredded within such period and in such manner as the Secretary prescribes, or will be transferred to an entity that will ensure that the vehicle will be crushed or shredded within such period and in such manner as the Secretary prescribes; and ii) has not been, and will not be, sold, leased, exchanged or otherwise disposed of for use as an automobile in the United States or in any other country, or has been or will be transferred, in such a manner as the Secretary prescribes, to an entity that will ensure that the vehicle has not been, and will not be, sold, leased, exchanged or otherwise disposed of for use as an automobile in the United States or in any other country."
"Cash for Clunkers is loaded with so many potholes that the American people will be paying a steep bill both economically and environmentally for a long time," continued Lowe. "In addition to the wasteful nature of destroying perfectly good vehicles, a tremendous amount of energy and resources will be exhausted to build new vehicles to replace the scrapped ones. Providing incentives for motorists to have their current vehicles maintained for fuel efficiency would be a much better use of federal money that would truly benefit the environment."
Interested parties can send an e-mail in opposition to the Cash for Clunkers program to the Speaker of the House, the Senate Majority Leader and their congressional representatives by visiting www.fightcashforclunkers.org and clicking on "Take Action."