Thursday, May 18, 2017

DEP Seeks Input On Use Of $118M Volkswagen Settlement Fund To Reduce Air Pollution

The Wolf Administration Thursday released its draft plan, and is encouraging public input, for the use of $118 million from the Volkswagen settlement fund to pay for projects to reduce air pollution in Pennsylvania. (formal notice)
Settlement funds can only be used to pay for ten types of vehicle upgrade and infrastructure projects, including converting older diesel vehicles and equipment to cleaner burning natural gas, and electric vehicle infrastructure.
“This is an opportunity for us to transparently engage the public in the creation of a plan that will benefit all Pennsylvanians,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “I encourage all stakeholders to provide input to the Department of Environmental Protection as we work together to use this funding to reduce air pollution in the Commonwealth.”
Pennsylvania’s allocation is part of a settlement of a federal lawsuit against Volkswagen after VW violated the Federal Clean Air Act by installing emissions testing defeat devices in vehicles sold in the Commonwealth and elsewhere.
Pennsylvania’s allocation from the trust fund is based upon the over 23,000 illegal vehicles in the commonwealth. Projects funded through the settlement will help mitigate the excess emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOX) from illegally equipped VW vehicles in Pennsylvania.
The settlement allows Pennsylvania to apply to receive approximately $118 million over as many as 10 years from an Environmental Mitigation Trust to fund projects that will reduce emissions from certain types of diesel-powered vehicles and equipment, as a remedy for some of the environmental damages caused by VW.
“This funding gives us the potential to go beyond a simple recall program. It will allow us to reduce pollution and improve air quality in places where residents and visitors work, live and play,” said Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.
A 45-day public comment period will be open from May 20 until July 5.
May 23 Webinar
The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a webinar soliciting feedback on Pennsylvania’s draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan on May 23 at 10:00 a.m. to outline the structure of the proposed plan and further opportunities for the public to provide input.  Click Here to register for the webinar.
Listening Sessions
Listening sessions will be held in each of DEP’s six Regional Offices to receive public comments. DEP will use the comments received to develop the final Mitigation Plan.  The sessions will be held from 10:00 a.m. until Noon--
-- June 5: DEP Southcentral Regional Office, 909 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg;
-- June 7: DEP Northcentral Regional Office, 208 West Third St., Williamsport;
-- June 13: DEP Southeast Regional Office, 2 East Main St., Norristown;
-- June 15: DEP Northeast Regional Office, 2 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre;
-- June 22: DEP Northwest Regional Office, 230 Chestnut St., Meadville; and
-- June 23: DEP Southwest Regional Office, 400 Waterfront Dr., Pittsburgh.
Comments will be limited to five minutes for each speaker and will be recorded. Speakers are asked to submit one written copy of their comments to DEP staff at the start of the session and organizations are asked to designate one speaker to present comments on their behalf.
Pre-registration to speak at a listening session is encouraged, but not required.  Commentators can register by calling 717-783-8727.
Submitting Comments
Comments may also be submitted using DEP’s online eComment system. Written comments may also be submitted by email at or mailed to the Department of Environmental Protection, Policy Office, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063. Comments submitted by fax will not be accepted.
More Information
For more information, visit DEP’s Environmental Mitigation Trust Agreement webpage. Questions concerning the comment period, webinar, and listening sessions can be directed to the DEP Policy Office at 717-787-9495 or send email to:
[Note: A separate $30.4 million damage settlement in a state attorney generals’ case against Volkswagen for the same violation will not be administered by DEP, but by the Governor’s Budget Office and the Office of Attorney General.
[Note: Senate Bill 722 (Bartolotta-R-Washington) providing for expenditure of moneys received from the Volkswagen vehicle emissions testing settlement (sponsor summary) was introduced Friday.]
Related Stories:
Proposed Senate Bill Would Distribute Volkswagen Diesel Testing Settlement Funds

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