Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund

Air Pollution Control Program fact sheet
10/2017
Division of Environmental Quality Director: Ed Galbraith
PUB2724

Background

In 2016, the United States settled complaints against Volkswagen AG, et al. The settlement resolves claims that Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act by selling approximately 590,000 vehicles with 2.0- and 3.0-liter diesel engines having emissions defeat devices. The vehicles are from model years 2009 to 2016.

As part of their engine control module, the vehicles contain computer algorithms and calibrations that cause emissions control systems to perform differently during emissions testing to guarantee passing scores. During normal operation, the vehicles emit levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) that significantly exceed EPA standards.

The Clean Air Act and the Missouri Air Conservation Law protect human health and the environment. Volkswagen violated the laws by failing to control emissions from its light-duty diesel vehicles, thus emitting harmful pollutants. Exhaust from the VW vehicles contained concentrations of nitrous oxides (NOx) up to 40 times EPA’s standard, according to the federal agency. NOx is a precursor of ground-level ozone, the pollutant of most concern in Missouri. Some areas in Missouri either violate or come close to violating EPA’s national standard for ground-level ozone.  

The settlement consists of multiple agreements and requires Volkswagen to take certain actions, such as paying $2.9 billion to a national environmental mitigation trust fund. Beneficiaries — in this case, states — must use their shares to fund specific projects that reduce emissions of NOx from mobile sources. Read more at epa.gov/enforcement/volkswagen-clean-air-act-civil-settlement#investment.

What is Missouri’s role and how much does the state expect to receive?

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is the state’s lead agency. The department will administer funds to eligible individuals, companies, government and other entities in an effort to reduce air pollution from mobile sources. Missouri expects to receive more than $41 million under the settlement. VW sold approximately 7,500 of these vehicles in Missouri, according to Sept. 1, 2014, registration data from the Missouri Department of Revenue. Missouri's share of the settlement corresponds to the percentage of affected vehicles sold in the state.  

Event Date/Approximate Time Frame
Court approved the partial settlement Oct. 25, 2016

Trust took effect

Oct. 2, 2017

MoDNR was designated as lead agency

Fall 2017

MoDNR hosts initial period for public comment

Fall 2017

MoDNR proposes a draft 10-year plan for reducing emissions from mobile sources

Fall 2017

MoDNR hosts period for public comment regarding draft plan

Winter 2017

MoDNR completes 10-year plan

Winter 2017

MoDNR begins accepting project applications

Spring 2018

Missouri funds first projects

Summer 2018

What types of projects are eligible for reimbursement?

As required under the trust agreement, eligible NOx reduction projects must fall under one of the following categories (See Appendix D for a full description dnr.mo.gov/env/apcp/vw/documents/appendixd.pdf):

Does money provided under this settlement work the same as money provided under Diesel Emission Reduction Act grants? Does it replace them?

It is similar, but not exactly the same as DERA. As you can see, there is an option for matching DERA funds, which increases the money available for those types of projects.

Does Missouri or the Department of Natural Resources “make money” on the settlement?

No, the money is going to fund NOx emission-reduction projects — also referred to as NOx mitigation — conducted by individuals, companies, government and other entities. The consent decree, however, allows the department or successful applicants to be reimbursed for up to 15 percent of the funding allocation for administrative expenses.  

What happens if not all of the trust funds are spent?

If a state does not spend all of its allocation, the trustee will divide the remaining money among the states that did spend their allocation by the deadline. The trustee will divide any remaining funds based on the initial disbursement percentages.  

Who decides how to disburse the money?

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources began publicizing information about the VW settlement and inviting public comment. An online survey allows anyone to comment and submit ideas for projects. Access the survey by clicking on “Be part of the solution” on the department’s main VW webpage at dnr.mo.gov/env/apcp/vw. In addition, the department is hosting public meetings to inform the public about the settlement and gather input. After gathering initial public input, the department will propose a beneficiary mitigation plan and provide an official period for public comment. After the public comment period, the department will consider all comments received and finalize the plan. The department will submit the plan to the trustee prior to implementing it. In the plan, the department will not specify projects for funding; instead, the department will present its vision for using the funds and explain how it will select projects and distribute funds.

What do I do if I own an affected vehicle?

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is not directly involved in the consumer relief program. If you own an affected vehicle and are interested in information regarding the consumer portions of the settlement, such as the modification and buyback program, please visit vwcourtsettlement.com/en for additional information.

How do I apply for project funding?

Stay tuned! The consent decree requires public websites at the state and trustee levels. Sign up to receive email updates from the department about Volkswagen. When the department is ready, it will notify everyone on the email list that it is accepting applications for projects initiated through the VW mitigation fund. The email will include details about how to submit a project proposal for funding consideration.

Does all of the money have to be spent in a particular area or on one particular type of project?

No, stakeholder input is critical to develop the beneficiary mitigation plan. The draft plan will describe the types of projects and any target areas the state will prioritize when soliciting and selecting projects. Your input on these decisions is important. Please provide public comment. Share your thoughts and insight on how to distribute the money.

How can I keep updated on the status?

The department will continue to keep all Missourians informed as it moves forward on the VW environmental mitigation trust. Receive the latest email updates by signing up for the Volkswagen Settlement updates. Click the “Get Updates on This Issue” link on dnr.mo.gov/env/apcp/vw or check the department’s website for information about projects, applications, lists of chosen applicants and other relevant information.

When project selection occurs, the department will post online all relevant information, including names of recipients; the amount of mitigation funds allocated to each project; cost share anticipated for each project and expected reductions in NOx emissions for each project.

Missouri’s VW Environmental Mitigation Trust Contact Information

For information on the status of the department’s VW environmental mitigation trust, please contact the department’s Air Pollution Control Program:

Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Air Pollution Control Program
PO Box 176
Jefferson City, MO 65102
573-751-4817
573-751-2706 fax
dnr.mo.gov/env/apcp/vw

Additional VW Settlement Related Information

For more specific information, please see the following additional information or contact the department.