VW Settlement

    THIRD PROPOSAL PERIOD FOR VW MITIGATION TRUST SETTLEMENT PROJECTS is now closed. we will update this page when more information becomes available.

    March 2020 Update from the LDEQ:

    Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) solicited proposed project applications for the Louisiana Volkswagen (VW) Environmental Mitigation Trust three times with the third application window completed Oct. 1, 2019. Proposed projects were solicited for consideration by LDEQ, the Department of Natural Resources (LDNR), and the Department of Transportation and Development (LDOTD), and many have been awarded over the past year.

    To date, Louisiana has awarded $11,917,845 to 16 Parish School Boards who applied for funding under the VW Environmental Mitigation Settlement. Approximately 156 of the 351 buses receiving funding are propane or compressed natural gas (CNG) driven. Additionally, LDOTD is replacing old diesel equipment and vehicles with $6,616,268 in VW Funding.

    The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry was also awarded funding for proposed projects that include replacing seven vehicles with $693,791 of funding. The Town of Hornbeck was awarded $75,000 to replace an old diesel dump truck with a clean-burning CNG emergency roadside nurse dump truck that will be used to refuel other CNG vehicles. So far, $664,000 has been awarded to 10 cities, towns, and universities to purchase 24 Dual Port Level II Electric Car Chargers, seven DCF Fast Chargers, and an electric charger to charge a city bus.

    In 2017, Volkswagen (VW) pleaded guilty to charges that the company had installed software in its model year 2009-2016 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter diesel cars which circumvented Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions standards using a “defeat device.” These vehicles emit up to 40 times more pollution than emissions standards allow in the form of nitrogen oxides (NOx), a pollutant that harms public health and contributes to ozone or smog formation.

    A federal court in California approved the Volkswagen settlement on Oct. 25, 2016. Volkswagen is required to pay $2.9 billion into an environmental mitigation trust fund to be shared among the states and tribes. Louisiana received more than $19 million over the past three years from this settlement. The money has been used to offset the excess air pollution caused by VW’s actions.

    Three Louisiana state agencies were designated to receive equal shares of the fund: LDEQ, LDNR and LDOTD. These agencies were tasked to allocate the VW Mitigation Trust funds. LDEQ was designated the lead agency by the Office of Gov. John Bel Edwards.

    The agencies proposed to pool their funds to target the replacement of eligible diesel school buses. The bus replacement program offers partial funding to school districts to replace older diesel buses with electric, alternative fuel or high-efficiency diesel vehicles. However, government and non-government organizations, alike, were also eligible for consideration. To learn more about the VW Environmental Mitigation Settlement, visit https://deq.louisiana.gov/page/louisianavolkswagen-environmental-mitigation-trust.


    DEQ POSTS GUIDANCE FOR VW SUBMITTALS

    LOUISIANA'S MITIGATION PLAN

    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.

    SCHOOL BUSES

    The agencies, with public input, have pooled 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. Other projects allowable under the mitigation plan will also be considered. See Appendix D-2 for a complete list of project types allowed under the Volkswagen Settlement (beginning on page 53 of the document).

    The state's 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 CNG, propane, or Electric.

    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 Tyler Herrmann at Louisiana Clean Fuels at [email protected].

    FUNDING FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE (EVSE)

    The state's 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..." Louisiana has approximately $2.8 million in its fund available for EVSE projects. Electric vehicle charging infrastructure is the only type of fueling infrastructure allowed under the VW Settlement.

    Under National VW Settlement Guidelines, level 2 and DC Fast Chargers can be funded at the following levels:

    • Up to 100% of the cost to purchase, install and maintain eligible light duty electric vehicle supply equipment that will be available to the public at a Government-Owned Property.
    • Up to 80% of the cost to purchase, install and maintain eligible light duty electric vehicle supply equipment that will be available to the public at a Non-Government Owned Property.
    • Up to 60% of the cost to purchase, install and maintain eligible light duty electric vehicle supply equipment that is available at a workplace but not to the general public.

    The lead agency has put a priority on Public EVSE infrastructure applications from state agencies and other government entities. Proposals from private entities will also be considered. Application guidance has been issued by the LDEQ and can be found on their website. If you would like assistance with preparing your proposal, please email Tyler Herrmann with Louisiana Clean Fuels [email protected]To view the state's plan and for more information, visit the LDEQ's Volkswagen page. For more information or to comment on the state's plan, please email [email protected].

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    Source: LDEQ)