You may have heard in the news last year that Volkwagen (VW) violated the Clean Air Act with sales of vehicles that were equipped with devices designed to defeat emission controls. In order to remedy this violation, VW has come to a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice to compensate individuals and governments and support emissions reductions. Under this settlement, Vermont is poised to receive approximately $18 million in an Environmental Mitigation Fund for air quality and emission mitigation. Learn more about the settlement funds here.
Today, the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) is seeking public input on how best to use the funds to meet the purpose of the Trust and they would like to hear from you. The VT Climate Economy Action Team would like to see the following three actions taken:
- Vermont should seize this opportunity to, within the bounds of the settlement, strategically deploy VW funds to prioritize the advancement of freight, fleet, school, and transit bus electrification and model transformative change.
- Settlement funds should be used to support comprehensive efficiency programs and services, expand infrastructure for EV charging to the fullest extent allowable under the settlement, electrify heavy and medium duty trucks and transit, leverage private investment, and spur the expansion of disruptive and creative technologies to transform the system and keep hundreds of millions of dollar in the state and local economies each year.
- Some or all of the functions supported by the settlement funds should be led by a third party entity selected through an RFP process in order to fully leverage public-private partnerships and finance strategies that will bring more money into mitigation activities. The use of a third-party will ensure capacity to fully leverage settlement funds for additional funding and partnerships and catalyze creativity and innovation on how to use the settlement funds among potential applicants to best leverage job creation, affordability, and transportation systems change.
If you agree that Vermont should seize this opportunity to use these funds in a truly transformative way then please send a comment to ANR that includes the above recommendations. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your time and your efforts!!