Your voice needed: VW settlement

    Background: What is the VW settlement?

    Between 2009 and 2016, Volkswagen produced 11 million vehicles that were designed to cheat on emissions tests to hide excess pollution. In 2016, Volkswagen and the federal government reached a settlement stating that VW violated the federal Clean Air Act. The funds from this settlement have gone to state governments, which are using them to replace dirty diesel vehicles and build out electric vehicle infrastructure.

    This funding provides an opportunity to move Minnesota away from dirty diesel vehicles and towards clean alternatives. MN350 is asking the state to help us shift our school buses towards an all-electric platform, allowing our kids to ride buses that offer immediate health impacts and contribute to a sustainable future.

    Minnesota’s share of the settlement is $47 million. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is taking public comments right now on the second “phase” of funding, which consists of $23.5 million in grant money over the next 4 years. In late November, the MPCA released their plan for Phase II, and asked for comments on it.


    Talking points: What is the Phase II Plan?

    We heartily endorse key aspects of the plan, including:

    • Dedicated 65% of funding for clean vehicles.
    • The use of environmental justice criteria in all grant applications
    • Setting aside specific funding for electric school buses, to benefit the health of our kids
    • Focusing electric vehicle charging grants in greater Minnesota to make clean vehicles accessible across the state

    We believe the plan would be even stronger if it:

    • Redirected the remaining 35% of funds towards clean vehicles – no more diesel funding!
    • Prioritized the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
    • Increased the grant amount for electric buses, especially for low-income school districts
    • Removed difficult-to-meet requirements around vehicle lifespan
    • Refocused on achieving the metro area target of 60% reductions for PM2.5 and NOx

    To learn more about the VW settlement plan, visit the MPCA web site.