HELENA – The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has released a draft plan for spending $12.6 million awarded to the State of Montana under the national Volkswagen Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust Agreement. The plan is designed to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in Montana.
In 2016, the United States settled claims against Volkswagen concerning the use of devices intended to defeat emissions tests and installed in certain VW diesel cars sold between 2009-2016. These devices allowed the vehicles to emit up to 40 times the level of nitrogen oxide pollution allowed under the Clean Air Act.
As part of this settlement, Montana will receive $12.6 million that can be spent over the next ten years to mitigate nitrogen oxide emissions from mobile sources.
These funds can be used for repowering and replacing certain medium to heavy duty diesel vehicles, installing electric vehicle charging stations and administrative, marketing and education activities associated with eligible projects.
“This proposed plan represents the input of Montanans across the state and reflects our intention of putting these funds to use in a cost-effective manner,” said Dan Lloyd with the DEQ Energy Office. “The ultimate result is cleaner air in Montana.”
In November 2017, Governor Bullock designated DEQ as the lead agency to administer the funds and develop a mitigation plan to meet the requirements of the VW settlement. The purpose of this plan is to provide the public with Montana’s high-level vision for use of the funds. DEQ must submit this plan to the Trustee to request and receive trust funds.
Montana’s Draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan outlines DEQ’s goals, funding priorities and eligible project categories to help reduce diesel emissions and associated public health and environmental impacts.
“These funds present a great opportunity to reduce mobile sources of air pollutants across the state,” said DEQ Air, Energy and Mining Administrator Chris Dorrington. “In addition to cleaner air, this results in cost savings for Montanans.”
The draft mitigation plan is available at DEQ’s website at: http://deq.mt.gov/Energy/transportation/VW-Settlement-Page
The public will have an opportunity to provide comments on the draft plan until August 20, 2018, at 5 p.m., MST. Submit written comments by email to Kyla Maki at email@example.com or by regular mail, Attn: Kyla Maki, 1520 East 6th Ave. Helena, MT 59620-0901.
DEQ will also host an information session and webinar on the draft mitigation plan Tuesday, August 7. The public can attend the session in person or participate remotely via webinar. The meeting will be held from 1-3 p.m. in Room 111 of DEQ’s Metcalf Building located at 1520 East 6th Ave in Helena. Information on the webinar will be posted on DEQ’s website at: http://deq.mt.gov/Energy/transportation/VW-Settlement-Page