Toyota Defends $20m Donation to Audubon Society
We weren't the only ones giving Toyota grief about their $20m contribution to the Audubon Society. The Green Company That Also Sells Gas-Guzzlin' Trucks has gone on the defensive after readers of their Open Road blog castigated the Japanese automaker for the largesse. It seems the National Audubon Society is one of the plaintiffs in a suit against the National Park Service for alleged failure to regulate beach driving at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina. Readers felt Toyota's donation "is being used against people who use their 4-wheel drive vehicles" and "to help fund the closure of the beaches of the Outer Banks of NC." ToMoCo says not so. After all, "we build and sell four-wheel-drive vehicles that have developed an enviable reputation in the four-wheeling community and many of us here are enthusiastic four-wheelers." To that end, their donation "will be used only to fund conservation projects, train environmental leaders and offer volunteer opportunities, not for lobbying or legal efforts." Yes but… a contribution of that size will free Audubon to redirect organizational funds that would have been used for those purposes, increasing their legal and lobbying firepower.