Vermont seeks public input and preliminary project ideas for 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 interested in hearing comments and answering questions from the public and interested stakeholders. Also, 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 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.
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.
Availability of funds from the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust is not guaranteed and depends on acceptance by and approval of the use of the funds by the Governor and the Vermont Attorney General. However, in order to be prepared should such funds be forthcoming, ANR is seeking public input on how to best utilize the funds to meet the purpose of the Trust. Specifically, ANR seeks comment on the following questions and proposals:
- Proposed overall goal for use of the Environmental Mitigation Trust allocation:
a. REDUCE NOx emissions from mobile sources, eligible for replacement or repower, in the most cost-effective way possible;
b. DEMOSTRATE market viability of all-electric or other NOx mitigating alternatively fueled heavy-duty and transit vehicles; and
c. MAXIMIZE public and private investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
- Consider project proposals from all of the Eligible Mitigation Project categories, except for category 5 – Ocean Going Vessel Shorepower, for funding under the Mitigation Trust.
- Utilize the total allowable funds (15% of Vermont's allocation) for development of EV charging infrastructure to support EV travel within and through Vermont.
- Require a minimum project size to be eligible for funding under the Mitigation Trust.
- Require government entities, as defined relative to each Project Category, to provide some project cost share to ensure maximum benefits and cost-effective expenditure of Trust funds.
- Prioritize eligible project categories and make funds available to those projects in the order that they are prioritized.
- Focus initially on funding projects restricted by model year eligibility, including:
- Project Category 2: Class 4-8 School Bus, Shuttle Bus, or Transit Bus
- Project Category 1: Class 8 Local Freight Trucks (Large Trucks)
- Project Category 6: Class 4-7 Local Freight Trucks (Medium Trucks)
- Prioritize projects demonstrating that the replacement or repower are occurring earlier than they normally would have due to this funding incentive, thus providing an even greater reduction of NOx emissions.
- Prioritize projects that promote other statewide energy, environmental and economic development goals.
- Prioritize projects that demonstrate innovative technology solutions.
- Should Vermont utilize the services of a third party to manage a portion of eligible project funding?
- How should Vermont consider areas that may share a disproportionate share of NOx emissions in choosing which projects to fund?
- How should Vermont calculate emissions benefits from projects?
To submit your comments, questions, preliminary project ideas, or to be added to the list of interested stakeholders, please send an email to: email@example.com.
There is currently no deadline for submitting comments. Please add your name to the list of stakeholders or continue to check this website for updates when the trust becomes effective and Vermont begins drafting its Beneficiary Mitigation Plan.
- explain the overall goal for the use of the trust funds,
- identify the NOx reductions expected to be achieved,
- list the categories of eligible projects intended for implementation, and
- explain how benefits to air quality in communities with a disproportionate air pollution burden will be considered.
In developing the plan, Vermont will seek public input regarding the eligible potential uses of the mitigation funds as well as the process for mitigation project selection. Project selection criteria will include consideration of the overall goal for use of Vermont’s Environmental Mitigation Trust Allocation, and several factors (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.