Michigan to Invest $64.8 Million in Sustainable Air Quality Improvements from Volkswagen Diesel Settlement

Agency: Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

For Immediate Release:
October 29, 2018

Debbie Swartz, MDEQ Staff, 517-284-6903, swartzd@michigan.gov
Tiffany Brown, MDEQ Public Information Officer, 517-284-6716, brownt22@michigan.gov

First funding opportunity targets replacement of school buses in late 2018

LANSING, Mich. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) today released its plan to leverage $64.8 million to achieve sustainable air quality improvements. The monies are an outcome of the 2016 Volkswagen diesel settlement. The monies will be spent over the next nine years to fund environmental mitigation actions to reduce oxides of nitrogen from diesel engine emissions.

Through this opportunity the MDEQ expects to incentivize the switch to zero emissions vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles and equipment, resulting in sustainable improvements to air quality, the environment and human health.

The Michigan Volkswagen Settlement Beneficiary Mitigation Plan, developed with stakeholder input, specifically calls for replacing eligible local freight trucks, shuttle buses, transit buses, school buses, airport ground support equipment, port cargo handling equipment and forklifts; repowering eligible freight switchers, Great Lakes ferries and tugs, and empowers the Michigan Agency for Energy to encourage the building of zero emission vehicle charging and fueling infrastructure across Michigan, with details to be announced soon.

The first funding opportunity is expected to occur in late 2018 and will target the replacement of school buses. Additional funding is expected to begin mid-2019 and will target all remaining project categories. Funding will continue in phases until the funds are expended.

An informational webinar will be held on Nov. 5, 2018, to explain the MDEQ’s plan and provide an opportunity for questions and answers. For more information on the Volkswagen settlement, the MDEQ’s plan or to register for the informational webinar, visit www.michigan.gov/deqvwsettlement.

In the fall of 2015, Volkswagen publicly admitted it had installed emissions control defeat devices – software designed to cheat emissions tests and deceive federal and state regulators – in certain Volkswagen-, Porsche-, and Audi-branded 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter diesel engine vehicles. In the litigation that ensued, an Environmental Mitigation Trust (Trust) was established as part of a partial consent decree to resolve, among other things, claims of the United States’ concerning excess oxides of nitrogen (NOx) from Volkswagen’s 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter diesel engine vehicles equipped with defeat devices. The Trust allocates more than $2.8 billion to the States, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia to fund environmental mitigation actions that reduce NOx emissions. The State of Michigan has been certified as a beneficiary of the Trust and has been allocated $64,807,014.63 of the approximate $2.8 billion.

The projects will be funded in accordance with the Michigan Volkswagen Settlement Beneficiary Mitigation Plan that was developed with public comment obtained through a request for information from November 2016 to March 2017, a webinar and numerous meetings with public and private stakeholders. Stakeholder input has included environmental, consumer and other advocacy groups, schools, school districts, regional educational service agencies, transit authorities, regional planning organizations, municipalities, state agencies, trade associations, utilities, vehicle suppliers, consulting groups, manufacturers, other private businesses and individuals. The plan was also developed using statewide air quality data gathered as part of ongoing efforts by the MDEQ Air Quality Division to help Michigan gain or maintain compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standard as required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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