VW Settlement Update

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On Wednesday the Environment Policy and Legacy Subcommittee heard an update from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on an estimated $47 million from Volkswagen that is expected to head Minnesota’s way as a result a large legal settlement due to the company’s violations of federal air emissions standards. The money could be available as early as this fall.

Volkswagen will pay $14.9 billion over the next decade to settle allegations that the automaker tampered with engines of certain vehicles to falsely comply with federal emissions standards. VW exceeded tailpipe emissions standards by more than 30 times for nitrogen oxides over the past seven years, which brought a nationwide lawsuit against VW by the Department of Justice and the US EPA.

Minnesota’s portion of the settlement funds is based on the number of substandard VW vehicles registered in the state (about 9300), and will mostly be distributed as grants using an RFP process. Before that can happen, the courts must select a trustee to disburse funds. Most of the money must be used for repowering or replacing diesel-powered vehicles with new diesel or alternative fuel vehicles or engines, and grants may be distributed to local governments, private companies, nonprofits, and state or tribal governments. For more information, go to:  www.epa.gov/vw, or www.pca.state.mn.us/air/volkswagen-settlement.