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Louisiana Publishes Volkswagen Mitigation Plan

Louisiana's Mitigation plan has been published and is now open for comment. To view the plan and for more information, visit the LDEQ's Volkswagen web page. For more information or to comment on the state's plan, please email vwsettlement@la.gov.

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) was designated the lead agency (beneficiary) by the Office of Gov. John Bel Edwards. Three Louisiana state agencies were designated to receive equal shares of the fund: LDEQ, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR) and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LDOTD). These agencies were tasked to allocate the VW Mitigation Trust funds. The agencies, with public input, are proposing to pool their funds to target replacement of eligible diesel school buses. The bus replacement program will offer partial funding primarily to school districts to replace their buses with electric, alternative fuel, or high-efficiency diesel vehicles. LDOTD is proposing to use its share of the funds to replace eligible diesel vehicles and heavy equipment with new, less polluting engines.

The plan gives first consideration "to replacement or repowering of school buses owned or used by Louisiana school districts with newer, cleaner vehicles, and/or new cleaner burning engines". These funds will not be used for fleet expansion. The goal is to get older, polluting vehicles off the road and to replace them with new, cleaner options. The amount of funding that the state is proposing for school bus replacements are as follows:

  1. 25% matching funds will be given for the replacement or repowering of eligible buses with newer cleaner burning diesel.
  2. 50% matching funds will be given for the replacement of eligible buses with eligible alternate fuels powered buses, including Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), propane, etc.

The plan states specifically:

The Louisiana DOTD owns and operates more than 5,500 pieces of equipment with an estimated replacement cost of more than $200 million. Approximately 60% of the equipment is currently beyond its estimated ideal replacement cycle established by the DOTD. The DOTD’ s main goal is to reduce overall emissions by replacing some of its fleet with new diesel technology equipment with use of the available funds, resulting in improved operational efficiency of its fleet with increased reliability and reduced downtime of equipment.

By concentrating first on school buses, Louisiana will provide significant emission reduction both for NOX and Toxic Air Pollutants (TAPs). Since these emissions occur at or near ground level, there is relatively little dispersion with maximum impact on the passengers and school children. Addressing school buses first provides the greatest improvement in local air quality for one of the most sensitive populations.

Funding for EVSE

The plan also includes language which allows the state to utilize "up to 15% of its allocation of Mitigation Trust funds on the costs necessary for, and directly connected to, the acquisition, installation, operation and maintenance of new, light duty, zero emission vehicle supply equipment for projects..." Electric vehicle charging infrastructure is the only type of fueling infrastructure allowed under the VW Settlement.

Assistance for School Districts

School Districts wishing to take advantage of this funding should bookmark the state's VW webpage and watch for any requests for proposal (RFP) by the state. Louisiana Clean Fuels is working closely with the LDEQ on outreach for the state's bus replacement program. If your school district would like to learn more about the different fueling options available under the plan or would like assistance with their proposals to the state, please email Ann Vail at Louisiana Clean Fuels ann@louisianacleanfuels.org.

To view the plan and for more information, visit the LDEQ's Volkswagen web page. For more information or to comment on the state's plan, please email vwsettlement@la.gov.

Helpful Links

Appendix D-2 which lists eligible mitigation actions and expenditures under the program (which kind of vehicles can be replaced).

Settlement timeline graphic

Details of Louisiana’s Mitigation Plan

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