When we spoke with Chelsea Sexton at the Santa Monica Alt Car Expo over the weekend (the above video), she said her organization, Plug In America, and others (Rainforest Action Network and the Global Exchange) were going to be protesting Toyota on Monday. I've been watching the news reports since then, but only now have been able to find a report on what went down at the event.

The Santa Monica Daily Press' Kevin Herrera reports that the rally, held in front of the Santa Monica Toyota dealership, was full of picket signs and calls through a megaphone. The issue is AB 1439, a now-contentious state bill that required (it was passed in 2002) the California Air Resources Board to "devise standards to reduce motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions." I'll suggest you read Herrera's article for more details, but the upshot is that the automakers said the feds, not the states, should set fuel economy standards. An EPA waiver was applied for, and things have been held up ever since, with Toyota one of the forces working to stop implementation of AB 1439.

Plug In America's Paul Scott tole Herrera, "We're out in front of the dealership because we know that this is where the money comes in. If you attack the money supply, they listen."

Toyota defended itself by saying that, among other things, the company spends about $25 million a day to research and develop greener vehicles. Holy moly, that's a lot of scratch. I sure would like to see the breakdown of how much goes where.

[Source: Santa Monica Daily Press]