NGVAmerica Webinar to Discuss Environmental Opportunities of VW Settlement
NGVAmerica is holding a webinar for NGVAmerica members to discuss the settlement documents and efforts being made to educate states about the benefit of NGV projects. The webinar will be held on Friday, November 4 at 3:00 p.m. ET.
On October 25, the judge overseeing the Volkswagen settlement issued a decision approving the partial settlement and consent decree provisions related to Volkswagen’s 2.0-liter diesel vehicles. The decision to approve the settlement terms means that state authorities can now begin to plan in earnest how they will spend the $2.7 billion set aside for their benefit for environmental mitigation projects.
Many state authorities have already begun to discuss a process for how they will consider projects, but now that the settlement is finalized it provides certainty that the funds will actually be available, and it also provides certainty as to the types of projects that are eligible for funding. The decision also approves the $10 billion compensation package for Volkswagen owners and the $2.0 billion Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Fund to be administered by Volkswagen.
The decision included approval of the changes to Appendix D (Environmental Mitigation Trust) that were submitted on September 30 to the court by the U.S. Department of Justice. Those changes were made in response to the comments it received from the public and state authorities.
The $2.7 Billion Environmental Mitigation Trust program remains largely unchanged: it relies largely on replacement or the repower of older Class 4 – 8 diesel vehicles with new, cleaner vehicles or engines. It also includes funding for some non-road projects (e.g., vehicles at airports, port facilities). Fifteen percent of the funds can be expended on electric vehicle infrastructure. The court, however, did approve some important changes that are highlighted below.
The key changes to the proposed $2.7 Billion Environmental Mitigation Trust include: 1) clarifying that the funding percentages (e.g., 25 percent for a new truck) are “up to” a certain amount so funding could be less but not more than the specified percentage; 2) up to 15% of funds can now be used for administrative expenses; and 3) the qualifying model years for replacement or repower has been extended to also include 2007 – 2009 as well as 1992 – 2006.
The final decision also clarifies that qualifying new vehicles or repowered engine must be from the model year the project occurs or the previous model year. The court did not make any change to funding levels for low-NOx engines. State authorities however will have discretion to prioritize funding for the types of projects they believe bet serve their goals and this could include prioritizing funding for natural gas engines and vehicles over other available technologies. More details on these changes will be provided during the upcoming webinar.