In January 2016 the United States and the State of California filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen alleging it had manufactured diesel cars sold and operated in the U.S. with systems intended to defeat emissions tests. These systems allowed vehicles to emit nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution at levels 40 times the amounts allowed under the Clean Air Act.
The total settlement is over $15 billion dollars. Of this total, VW is required to place $2.9 billion in an “Environmental Mitigation Trust” account to be used for “Eligible Mitigation Actions” to achieve reductions of NOx. Eligible beneficiaries of this trust account include each of the 50 states and American Indian Tribes.
Montana will receive $12.6 million from the environmental mitigation trust. This trust fund will be used for projects that are Eligible Mitigation Actions that mitigate NOx emissions in the transportation sector. Projects eligible for funding include but are not limited to diesel trucks, buses, freight switcher locomotives, and airport ground support equipment. Vehicle replacements, engine upgrades and retrofits are eligible for funding. States can also use up to 15 percent of their funds for light duty electric vehicle charging stations available to the public or located at workplaces or multi-unit housing locations.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is the state’s lead agency to oversee how Montana’s $12.6 million allocation is distributed and spent. DEQ will be consulting with other agencies and members of the public on how best to spend these funds on eligible projects to maximize air quality and other economic and environmental benefits. DEQ will be developing the state’s Beneficiary Mitigation Plan that the agency must submit to the Trustee prior to receiving funds. To develop the Plan, DEQ will be seeking public input on state goals, criteria, focus areas and other issues associated with spending and disbursing the environmental mitigation trust funds.
DEQ will be sending out all information related to the Volkswagen settlement, development of the mitigation plan, information and updates on our VW settlement interested parties list. If you would like to get on this list, please send your name and email address to: Kyla Maki at email@example.com DEQ will also be posting updates on this website.