Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Weigh in on the Volkswagen settlement

We want to know how you think the $112.7 million should be invested

Did you know that Washington is eligible to receive $112.7 million in Volkswagen settlement money to reduce air pollution from transportation? We want to know where you think the
Take the 3-minute survey.
funds should be invested and have opened a survey. Let’s begin with a short primer before you take the survey.

Background: Volkswagen violated the Federal Clean Air Act

Volkswagen installed illegal software on some of its diesel vehicles and later admitted guilt. As a result of the software, affected vehicles emit up to 40 times the permitted levels of nitrogen oxides.

Many people have been confused by all the news about Volkswagen. It might be easiest to think of the settlements as three different buckets:

  • Mitigation Trust Fund: Reducing air pollution from transportation.
  • Zero Emission Vehicle Investment Fund: Investments in electric vehicle infrastructure and outreach to increase awareness of electric vehicles.
  • Consumer Relief: Buy-backs and repairs for owners of the affected vehicles. 

In this blog post, we are focusing on the Mitigation Trust Fund. To learn more about how the mitigation funds can be invested, watch our YouTube video.

What’s happening now: Washington is eligible for $112.7 million

Washington has about 22,000 of the affected vehicles registered in the state and is therefore eligible to receive $112.7 million to reduce air pollution from transportation.

States and tribes are required to develop plans that show how the funds will be used. Ecology is developing the plan for Washington and is asking the public, tribes, local governments, state agencies, the business community, and public interest groups to weigh in on which of the eligible vehicle and equipment categories they think the state should invest in.

How the money can be used

The settlement establishes very specific requirements around the types of projects that states and tribes can fund to lessen the harm caused by the excess emissions.

The money can be used in a variety of ways but must meet the legal requirements of the consent decree. Eligible vehicle and equipment categories are identified in the consent decree. Plans also must consider reducing pollution in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by emissions.

Eligible uses of the funds include repowering or replacing the following with less-polluting options:

  1. Airport ground support equipment
  2. Class 4-7 local trucks
  3. Class 4-8 school/shuttle/transit buses
  4. Class 8 local freight trucks and port drayage trucks
  5. Ferries/tugboats
  6. Forklifts and cargo handling equipment at ports
  7. Freight switcher locomotives
  8. Shorepower for ocean going vessels
  9. Light duty zero emission vehicle supply equipment (limited to 15% of funds)
  10. Matching funds for projects eligible under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA)

We want to know what you think

We want to know which of the above 10 eligible categories you think Washington should include for potential funding in Washington’s mitigation plan. We have launched a survey that gives people, tribes, governments, and groups an opportunity to weigh in. The survey closes 4 p.m. PDT, May 31, 2017. We hope you take the survey!

To learn more about the settlements, visit our website.

By Camille St. Onge, communications

No comments: