President Obama’s call for government workers to cut back on driving and travel to reduce air pollution has angered business travel leaders who say he is once again hurting the travel industry.
Obama issued a directive last week ordering government workers to commute and travel less to reduce greenhouse emissions 13% by 2020. The move, he said, would eliminate 101 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
But the National Business Travel Assn., a trade group for business travel managers, called the plan a “misguided swing at the travel industry” that could “undermine the slight recovery the travel industry is just now starting to experience.”
The association and other travel industry leaders bashed Obama in February 2009 when he spoke out against corporate executives who spent on lavish travel after accepting government bailout money.
“You can’t get corporate jets, you can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers’ dime,” Obama said during a town hall meeting in Indiana last year.
The industry leaders said the comment hurt business travel at a time when the sluggish economy was already taking a devastating toll.
An Obama spokeswoman defended his plan, saying it would reduce pollution and improve efficiency by increasing the use of public transit and video teleconferencing, among other things.
“It’s not a travel mandate,” said Christine Glunz, a spokeswoman for the White House Council on Environmental Quality.