Volkswagen (VW) violated the Clean Air Act by selling ~590,000 diesel cars model year 2009-2016 equipped with “defeat devices” designed to cheat on federal emissions tests. This resulted in over 40,400 tons of excess NOx emissions.
EPA and others sued Volkswagen for violating the Clean Air Act. The state-administered Environmental Mitigation Trust settlement provides $2.7 billion for air pollution mitigation projects.
Under the Environmental Mitigation Trust, Midwest states stand to receive more than $438 million for local air quality efforts, including electric vehicle infrastructure and air quality mitigation efforts (targeting vehicle and equipment upgrades). The Mitigation Trust creates a unique opportunity and obligation for Midwest states to modernize public vehicle fleets and infrastructure, reduce harmful air pollution, and stimulate economic development across the region.
ELPC is advocating for high-impact opportunities to use the Mitigation Trust money to drive the electric vehicle market forward in the Midwest. These include:
- Maximizing the allowable 15% of funds for light-duty electric vehicle infrastructure and prioritizing investment in electric vehicle fast-chargers along the Midwest’s National Charging Corridor highways.
- Investing the remaining 85% of funds in electric vehicle upgrades for large, public fleets that operate in densely-populated areas, such as school and transit buses
VW Mitigation Fund Allocations for Midwest States
States will be required to submit plans outlining how they will use VW Settlement funds. Here is timeline of how that work will proceed.
Evaluating Eligible Uses of Funds
In evaluating potential investments in eligible vehicles, equipment, and technologies, Midwest states should focus on specific opportunities to minimize NOx emissions and human exposure while maximizing cost-effectiveness and market impact. Mitigation investments should also seek to protect and improve quality of life for Midwest states’ most vulnerable and disproportionately affected residents, including children.
What ELPC Is Doing
- ELPC hosted an Electric School Bus Webinar detailing the opportunity for school districts to modernize their fleets while protecting children from the harmful effects of diesel pollution. School buses transport more people nationwide than transit and rail combined. See a map of how school bus ridership compares to funding allocated from the VW settlement.
ELPC led a 4-state, 6-city electric school bus road tour to raise awareness about the VW settlement opportunity to get electric school buses on the road that don’t expose children to harmful diesel pollution. The tour was strategically timed as state lead agencies across the Midwest are crafting proposals to allocate their portion of $2.7 billion in Volkswagen settlement funds. Each stop on the tour included a press conference with environmental, public health, education and utility leaders. The goal of the events was to educate the public on electric school buses and demonstrate the broad support for this technology to state lead agencies
- ELPC has created state-specific fact sheets to inform interested stakeholders of VW settlement actions to date: