NRDC's Beinecke and Former GM's Lutz: "Petty politics are killing our spirit of innovation"

For the last several months, the right wing has been mercilessly assaulting the viability of electric cars and government loans for clean energy.  It is now becoming clearer that turning clean cars into a political punching bag is backfiring.

The collateral damage of these attacks are the American innovative spirit and jobs. I assume this not what the right wing critics had in mind when they started their groundless attacks.

NRDC and Lutz defend government role in advancing clean cars

It took right wing ideologues to make it happen. But in the Chicago Tribune, the President of NRDC, Frances Beinecke, and the former VP of GM, Bob Lutz, have a joint op ed calling on the right wing to stop their senseless attacks on clean cars and the American innovative spirit. Bob Lutz, of course, famously calls global warming "a crock" but led the led the development of the Chevy Volt. Here’s what they say: 

…the anti-Obama forces are cheering the real and perceived failures in advancing motor vehicle and other energies with such a vengeance that soon no one in his right mind will dip his toe in the innovation pool. In fact, politics has all but stopped the Department of Energy from doing its job of fostering new technology for fear of political backlash in an election year.

Fox News' mea culpa moment

Bob Lutz has been famously pushing back against his friends on Fox News, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, and others, who have been mounting a concerted smear campaign against the Volt. Perhaps his haranguing is getting through. In what could be interpreted as a Fox News’ mea culpa moment, it aired this segment that refuted just about everything its own pundits have been saying about the Volt.

In the segment, the highly conservative guest, Lee Spieckerman, CEO of Spieckerman Media, a self-described “drill, baby, drill guy”, vigorously debunked myths perpetuated by Fox News talk show hosts:

They are perpetuating the myth that the Volt was some kind of Obama administration green energy fantasy that as you say was forced on General Motors during the bailout.

It’d been in development two years before Obama was elected. And it was championed by … Bob Lutz, who is a conservative and a climate change skeptic. So you know it’s a myth.

The tax break for buying the Volt was implemented by the Bush administration. It was not  something that was implemented under the Obama administration.

Bottom Line: Attacks on clean cars hurting jobs

According to GM’s CEO Dan Akerson, the Volt has suffered “collateral damage” from the House investigation and slowed sales. As a result, 1,300 worker in Detroit are now idled until April 23rd.

And now  Sergio Marchioone, CEO of Chrysler, also points out the job impacts of attacks by right wing House members on the DOE loan programs. According to the Detroit News, “Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says the company's failure to win up to $3.5billion in Energy Department retooling loans will slow the automaker's new projects and new jobs.”

We cannot let petty politics kill the electric car and the American innovative spirit.