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$6 million in Volkswagen settlement funds to support clean air projects in Connecticut

Christian Fernsby |
Governor Ned Lamont announced that the State of Connecticut is making available $6 million from the legal settlement in the Volkswagen (VW) Corporation emissions cheating scandal to fund 15 clean air projects in the state.

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Administered through the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Connecticut is making these funds available for a variety of vehicle electrification and diesel mitigation projects.

The projects announced are part of the second funding cycle under the distribution of the state’s VW settlement funding.

“Climate change is not a future problem; it’s real, it’s now and it cannot be ignored.

“It is imperative that we make every effort to reduce emissions,” Governor Lamont said.

“The projects we are supporting through the VW settlement funds will go a long way in helping to improve air quality and protect public health in Connecticut, while also providing economic development opportunities.”

“The transportation sector is responsible for approximately 70 percent of smog forming air pollution and 38 percent of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in Connecticut,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said.

“All of the projects will help us realize both short-term nitrogen oxide (NOx) reductions and longer-term greenhouse gas emission reductions from mobile sources in Connecticut.

Through each round of VW grant funding, we are identifying new ways to overcome barriers and support the switch to electric vehicles.

"We look forward to initiating subsequent grant rounds that attract innovative proposals for electric vehicle deployment, in partnership with municipal and private fleet owners.”

By spring 2020, DEEP will initiate a stakeholder-driven process to assist in identifying and developing concepts, opportunities and solutions to overcome barriers in order to identify viable electrification proposals under the VW NOx mitigation program.

The third round will also seek proposals within the category of Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE), for which DEEP reserved 15 percent of all VW funding – the maximum allowed under the program.

In 2015, Volkswagen publicly admitted that it had deliberately installed a defeat device software designed to cheat emissions tests and deceive federal and state regulators in nearly 590,000 VW, Audi, and Porsche model year 2009 to 2016 diesel vehicles sold nationwide, with nearly 12,000 vehicles sold in Connecticut.

As a result of a federal civil enforcement case against VW for violating the Clean Air Act, Connecticut was allocated more than $55.7 million to be distributed over a ten-year period for use toward offsetting the excess nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution emitted in the state by these vehicles.

The $6.2 million in funding awarded is balanced by additional investments of $10.4 million from the recipients so that the total direct economic impact of today’s action is $16.6 million.

The 15 projects selected for funding under this funding cycle, over their lifetime, will reduce almost 68 tons of NOx emissions and almost 5,100 tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.

In addition to NOx and GHG, a total of 4 tons volatile organic compounds (VOC) and 3.4 tons of fine particulate matter, which contributes to asthma and other negative health impacts, will be cost-effectively reduced from environmental justice communities and other areas of Connecticut that bear a disproportionate share of air pollution.

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