Vermont's 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 have provided our Beneficiary Mitigation Plan (BMP), which includes project priorities and can be found below.
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, email@example.com, 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 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 and the VW Trustee certified Vermont as a Beneficiary on January 31, 2018.
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 Mitigation Trust Agreement, ANR has sought public input on a draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan that proposes how to best utilize the funds to meet the purpose of the Trust. Vermont's final Beneficiary Mitigation Plan is now available and was submitted to the VW Trustee on May 29, 2018. 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.
View Vermont's Beneficiary Mitigation Plan.
Vermont's overall goals for use of the Environmental Mitigation Trust allocation are as follows:
- REDUCE NOx emissions from mobile sources, eligible for replacement or repower, in the most cost-effective way possible;
- DEMONSTRATE the feasibility of all-electric or other NOx mitigating alternatively fueled heavy-duty and transit vehicles and begin to catalyze market transformation; 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 prior to its submittal to the Trustee. Therefore, Vermont held a public comment period to seek comments related to the required elements of the 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 sought 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.
On May 29, 2018 Vermont released a Responsiveness Summary to address public written and verbal comments received during the public comment period.
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 and video of the public meeting provided by ORCA Media.
Although the formal public comment period is closed, you can always use the email contact, firstname.lastname@example.org, to submit your contact information so that we can add your name to a distribution list for updates and information.
For information related to the recent consumer protection settlement between VW and Vermont that includes additional restitution for owners of affected VW vehicles, please visit http://ago.vermont.gov/volkswagen-emissions-violations/.
Now that the BMP has been submitted to the Trustee, Vermont will develop project funding opportunities to implement the goals and objectives of the final BMP and the EMT. The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) periodically solicits applications from potential project partners for projects that achieve significant reductions in diesel emissions from diesel powered engines, vehicles and equipment operating in Vermont. The DEC posts Request for Proposals for grant opportunities on the Vermont Business Assistance Network website. Please check back periodically for updates.
Recent Funding Opportunities
The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) previously sought proposals for electric replacement or repower (engine replacement) projects for all eligible mitigation actions under the EMT. Applications were due November 3, 2020 and DEC is currently negotiating agreements with selected applicants. Additional details can be found on the Vermont Business Assistance Network website.
Vermont's Electric School & Transit Bus Pilot Program
On behalf of the four Project Partners listed below, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and VEIC sought proposals from prospective vendors for the purchase of 8 electric buses: 6 school buses and 2 transit buses during the summer/fall of 2020. The first school buses are scheduled to begin arriving in spring of 2021.
This pilot will evaluate: the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of electric buses and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) operating under conditions comparable to conventional diesel-powered buses (i.e., year-round under a full range of route conditions and settings, such as rural and urban routes) in the state; as well as quantify the reduction in NOx and greenhouse gas emissions as described in the state’s Beneficiary Mitigation Plan. Findings from the pilot will be used to encourage and inform future electric bus purchases by Vermont transit agencies, school districts, and school bus contractors operating in Vermont.
Additional details can be found on the Vermont Business Assistance Network website.
VEIC, on behalf of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, sought qualifications from prospective Project Partners for an electric school and transit bus pilot program, funded by the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. Project Partners will deploy the electric buses in their regular transportation service and may include supervisory unions, school districts, or transit providers. Project Partners have been selected through a competitive two-step application process. The recent Request for Qualifications (RFQ) was intended to determine basic eligibility and level of commitment. Successful applicants were then invited to respond to the subsequent Request for Proposals (RFP). As announced in the December 19, 2019 Press Release, the following Project Partners have been selected for participation in the Pilot Program and will be replacing two of their diesel buses with electric buses in 2020!
- Barre Unified Union School District
- Champlain Valley School District
- Franklin West Supervisory Union
- Marble Valley Regional Transit Disctrict
Please see the Frequently Asked Questions document for answers to questions about the pilot program.
Based in part on input from the public, other state agencies and the legislature, ANR has allocated $4 million from Vermont’s allocation of the EMT to this pilot program for the purpose of evaluating the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of electric school and transit bus operation in Vermont. The electric bus pilot program as announced in the June 12, 2019 Press Release. As the program details are developed, all updates will be provided here. Please check back often.
For more information, please contact VEIC’s Stephanie Morse at email@example.com.
Vermont's Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Grant Program
The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development annouced Vermont's Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Grant Program. To support the purchase and installation of Level 2 and DC fast charging stations in Vermont, a total of $400,000 in funding has been awarded in February 2019 in the first grant round and more than $650,000 in funding was awarded in June 2019 in the second grant round. In 2020, a third grant round, focusing on expanding Vermont's DC fast charging network, was announced in the Governor's February 22, 2021 Press Release. General information regarding the grant program can be found on the Vermont Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Grant Program website. The program is administered by the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development in coordination with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, the Agency of Transportation, the Public Service Department, and the Department of Health.
For additional information including Vermont's semi-annual reports and funding requests as well as documentation from the Trustee, please visit Vermont's State Trust Overview page.
- 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 Beneficiary Mitigation Plan, which describes 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 goals 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 filed a Beneficiary Certification Form on November 2, 2017.
- JAN. 2018 | Trustee Designation of Beneficiaries - The Trustee designated Vermont as a beneficiary of the Trust on January 31, 2018.
- 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. Vermont submitted the Beneficiary Mitigation Plan to the Trustee on May 29, 2018.
- MAY 2018 | Request for Information - ANR released an RFI on May 29, 2018 to seek information regarding an electric school and transit bus pilot program. Responses are due by June 26, 2018.
- FALL 2018 | EVSE Grant Program - The State Interagency Working Group implements a funding program for eligible electric vehicle supply equipment to be administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development.
- FALL 2018 | Request for Proposals - DEC sought proposals for the administration of an electric school and transit bus pilot program to be implemented in 2019.
- SPRING 2019 | Electric School & Transit Bus Pilot - DEC to announce details of an electric school and transit bus pilot program to be implemented in 2019.
- 2019 | 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.