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Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Vermont Leads Coalition Of States Seeking To Expand Use Of Volkswagen Settlement Funds Allocated To States For Pollution Reduction Projects

August 8, 2016

The State of Vermont, leading a sixteen state coalition, filed Public Comments with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) in which the coalition urged DOJ to expand the allowed uses for funds allocated to the states under a proposed partial settlement between the United States, the State of California and Volkswagen. The settlement (Partial Consent Decree) requires Volkswagen to pay $2.7 billion into a trust which the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Indian Tribes may use for mitigation projects designed to reduce nitrogen oxide (“NOx”) emissions (a pollutant that contributes to smog and acid rain). Vermont’s share of the funds is $17.8 million. “We commend DOJ, EPA and the State of California for obtaining Volkswagen’s commitment to get its unlawful 2.0 liter vehicles off the road and to mitigate the vehicles’ excess NOx emissions,” said Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell. “However, we have requested that certain changes be made before the settlement is approved by the federal court to broaden the list of projects eligible for funding and ease funding restrictions. Those changes will allow the States to use the trust funds most effectively to reduce NOx emissions and help meet important clean air policy goals.”

The proposed Partial Consent Decree would partially resolve claims filed by the United States and the State of California arising from Volkswagen’s unlawful sale and marketing of 2.0 liter vehicles equipped with illegal, undisclosed defeat device software. The defeat devices were designed to make approximately 600,000 diesel vehicles sold in the U.S. appear to meet federal and state emissions standards when, in fact, they did not.

Attorneys General from the following states signed onto the comment letter: Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Last modified: February 8, 2018