Request for Comments/Input
On Sept. 11, 2017, the DEQ released a draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan (BMP). The plan is available on the DEQ website. The plan sets out three main priorities for spending VW Settlement Funds: 1) a natural gas school bus program, $8.78 million; 2) an electric vehicle infrastructure program, $2.19 million; and 3) a state-wide alternative fuel vehicle grant program to fund low-NOx natural gas or all electric engines/vehicles, $3.66 million. The primary stated goal of the plan is to provide significant and sustained reductions of NOx emissions. The plan also looks to accelerate the development of alternative fuel infrastructure including by encouraging private investment in fueling infrastructure; expand the use of new, low-NOx natural gas engines/vehicles; and increase jobs in Arkansas by encouraging increased production of Arkansas fuels. The plan does not indicate how much funding is available for specific vehicle purchases but does indicate that a cost share will be required under the state-wide program. One of the themes evident in the plan is encouraging actions that will lead to even greater emission reductions and other benefits down the road by supporting greater use of alternative fuel vehicles and by expanding alternative fuel corridors.
HB-1735 – Amends existing incentives: adds electric vehicles and electric fueling equipment to existing incentives; rebates for charging stations are worth 50% of the cost or a maximum of $900 for private or $5,000 for public stations. Permits large rebate for charging equipment if higher percentage is authorized under a federal or state settlement (likely reference to VW Settlement). The vehicle rebates for NGVs remain at 50% or $4,500; the new EV rebate is 50% or not more than $2,500. Also permits increase in vehicle rebate amounts if higher levels are permitted under federal settlement or state settlement. Also strikes the language in the law that previously said can’t combine rebates.
Status: enacted 4/3/17.
SB-256 – Transfers the Department of Energy to the Department of Environmental Quality. The move according to new stories is intended to allow the Volkswagen Settlement funding “to be routed through the Department of Environmental Quality.” Status: passed House 2/17/17. Signed by Governor 2/22/2017 Act No. 271.