Vermont seeks public input for use of the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Funds
Welcome to Vermont's VW Mitigation Trust page. This page provides basic information about the VW Mitigation Trust and how Vermont can use its Trust allocation once it's available. We are also seeking comments on our Draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan (BMP), and have provided questions of the public to provide specific input on proposed project priorities. Please check this page often for updates on the status of the Mitigation Trust, additional information, and specific areas where Vermont is seeking input. Use the email contact listed below to submit your public comments on the BMP or submit your contact information so that we can add your name to a distribution list for updates and information. Thank you for your interest and participation.
On June 28, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice filed with the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, a proposed settlement that partially resolves claims that Volkswagen (VW) violated the Clean Air Act by the sale of approximately 500,000 vehicles containing 2.0 liter diesel engines equipped with devices designed to defeat emission controls. On October 25, 2016, the Court approved the partial settlement and entered a partial Consent Decree requiring VW to:
- buy back or modify emission controls on at least 85 percent of the subject vehicles,
- invest $2 billion to promote the use of zero emission vehicles and infrastructure, and
- establish and fund a $2.7 billion environmental mitigation trust (EMT).
In late December of 2016, a settlement involving similar claims for 83,000 3.0 liter diesel engines equipped with defeat devices was reached, which includes an additional $225 million towards the environmental mitigation trust. Vermont’s allocation of the Environmental Mitigation Trust is $18.7 million.
On October 2, 2017, the Trust Effective Date for the Environmental Mitigation Trust occurred, triggering the requirement for all beneficiaries of the Environmental Mitigation Trust, including Vermont, to submit a Beneficiary Certification Form. Vermont completed this requirement on November 1, 2017.
Availability of funds from the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust depends on the requirement that Vermont submit a Beneficiary Mitigation Plan to the Trustee. Per the terms of the terms of the Mitigation Trust Agreement, ANR is seeking public input on a draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan that proposes how to best utilize the funds to meet the purpose of the Trust.
View Vermont's draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan.
Vermont's proposed overall goal for use of the Environmental Mitigation Trust allocation is as follows:
- REDUCE NOx emissions from mobile sources, eligible for replacement or repower, in the most cost-effective way possible;
- DEMONSTRATE market viability of all-electric or other NOx mitigating alternatively fueled heavy-duty and transit vehicles; and
- MAXIMIZE public and private investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Request for Public Input
The Partial Consent Decree requires that Vermont involve the public in its development of the BMP, and Vermont plans to engage in this public process prior to submittal to the Trustee. Therefore, Vermont seeks comments related to the required elements of the proposed BMP, including how to utilize Vermont’s funding allocation to meet the purpose of the EMT as stated in Appendix D, which is to be used to fund “environmental mitigation projects that reduce emissions of NOx” where affected VW vehicle were, are, or will be operated. Vermont also seeks comments on the Proposed Funding Priorities listed in Section 1 of the proposed BMP, with the intent that these priorities may be used to inform the project prioritization and selection criteria for proposed projects to be funded from Vermont’s allocation of the EMT.
Public Informational Meetings
Vermont held a public meeting to provide information on the eligible mitigation projects and the process associated with Vermont’s allocation of the EMT, and to accept public comments on the Proposed BMP. The public meeting was held on December 13, 2017 at 10:30am in the Montpelier Room at the Agency of Natural Resources, Davis Building, 1 National Life Drive, Montpelier, Vermont 05620. For more information, please view the presentation provided during the public meeting.
Vermont will accept verbal public comments at the public meeting scheduled as described above, and will accept written public comments from November 29, 2017 until January 13, 2018. The Agency of Natural Resources has compiled a series of detailed questions in a fillable form that we welcome the public to use for providing specific feedback on proposed priorities for the use of the Trust funds. To access the online fillable form, please visit: https://anrweb.vt.gov/ANR/VWBMPForm/. Written public comments can also be submitted:
VW Environmental Mitigation Trust
Attn: Deirdra Ritzer
The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
Department of Environmental Conservation
Air Quality and Climate Division
1 National Life Drive, Davis 2
Montpelier, VT 05620
By email: email@example.com
By fax: (802) 828-1250
All public comments (verbal and written) will be made available to the public once the BMP is finalized.
Finalization of Mitigation Plan
Vermont will finalize the BMP following the close of the public comment period on January 13, 2018. Once the Plan is finalized it will be published online and submitted to the EMT Trustee in accordance with the timeline prescribed in the Partial Content Decree (30 days before Vermont submits its first request for funding). Note that the BMP is subject to change, as described above, in the event that Vermont’s goals or priorities need to change to adapt to eligible mitigation project interest, funding and feasibility. In the event that any major components of the finalized BMP are amended, those amendments will be submitted to the EMT Trustee and will be made available to the public.
Following finalization and submittal to the Trustee of the Vermont BMP, Vermont will develop project qualification, prioritization, and selection criteria to implement the goals and objectives of the final BMP and the EMT. Project qualification criteria will be based on the list of eligible mitigation actions in Appendix D of the partial settlement, while final project prioritization and selection criteria will be made available in conjunction with requests for proposals for the EMT funding opportunities.
- explains the overall goal for the use of the trust funds,
- identifies the NOx reductions expected to be achieved,
- lists the categories of eligible projects intended for implementation, and
- explains how benefits to air quality in communities with a disproportionate air pollution burden will be considered.
Vermont has developed a draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan and is currently seeking public input regarding the eligible potential uses of the mitigation funds as well as prioritizing mitigation project selection. Project selection criteria will be developed for use in a future Request for Proposals (RFP) and will include consideration of the overall goal for use of Vermont’s Environmental Mitigation Trust Allocation, and several project priorities (e.g., project readiness, duration, cost, etc.) necessary to ensure effective and timely use of the mitigation trust funds.
- OCT. 2016 | Court Approval of Settlement - On October 25, 2016, the Court approved the partial settlement and entered a partial Consent Decree requiring VW to establish and fund the environmental mitigation trust.
- OCT. 2017 | Trust Effective Date - The Trust Effective Date occurred on October 2, 2017, when the final mitigation trust agreement was signed by the parties and filed with the court. All subsequent dates are dependent on the Trust Effective Date.
- DEC. 2017 | Filing of Beneficiary Certification Form - Vermont must file a Beneficiary Certification Form by December 1, 2017.
- JAN. 2018 | Trustee Designation of Beneficiaries - If Vermont’s certification form is accepted by the Trustee, the Trustee must designate Vermont as a beneficiary of the Trust no later than 120 days from the Trust effective date.
- SPRING 2018 | Beneficiary Mitigation Plan - 30 days before submitting its first funding request, Vermont must submit a Beneficiary Mitigation Plan to the Trustee, detailing the intended uses of Vermont’s allocated share of the mitigation trust.
- SUMMER 2018 | Funding Available for Eligible Mitigation Actions - Following development of an application process, and solicitation and review of applications, funding will begin to be available for eligible mitigation actions.
- Life of Mitigation Trust - Vermont will have 10 years to spend at least 80% of the funds allocated to it under the Trust. If Vermont does not meet this deadline, any remaining funds will revert to the Trust to be redistributed to beneficiaries that used 80% or more of their allocation within 10 years. If Vermont uses 80% or more of its allocation within 10 years, it will be eligible for redistributed funds from other states that did not meet this deadline. Vermont will then have 5 additional years to use this supplemental funding.