In 2016, the United States settled complaints against Volkswagen AG, et al. The settlement resolved 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 were from model years 2009 to 2016.
As part of their engine control modules, the vehicles contained computer algorithms and calibrations that caused emission control systems to perform differently during emissions testing to guarantee passing scores. During normal operation, the vehicles emitted levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) that significantly exceeded EPA standards.
The settlement consisted of multiple agreements and required 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. Visit the Volkswagen Trust Advisory Committee page for past meeting documents and videos.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources finalized Missouri’s 10-year Beneficiary Mitigation Plan for using proceeds from the Volkswagen Trust.
The plan summarizes goals for the trust in Missouri. It establishes award categories, and projects that fall under these categories will be eligible for funding. The plan meets requirements of the federal consent decree governing the Volkswagen Trust. The department created the plan over several months, guided by public input.
- Missouri's Beneficiary Mitigation Plan
- Appendix B Update, Volkswagen Trust Beneficiary Mitigation Plan
- July 2021 Semi-Annual Report
- January 2021 Semi-Annual Report
- July 2020 Semi-Annual Report
- January 2020 Semi-Annual Report
- July 2019 Semi-Annual Report
- What are the public health concerns?
The Clean Air Act and the Missouri Air Conservation Law protect human health and the environment. Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act by failing to control emissions from its light-duty diesel vehicles, thus emitting harmful pollutants. The major excess pollutant of concern is NOx.
When NOx and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) mix with sunlight, they can produce ground-level ozone. Although naturally occurring ozone in the upper atmosphere protects Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays, ground-level ozone can contribute to health and environmental problems. Ground-level ozone is an irritant that damages lung tissue and aggravates respiratory disease. The most susceptible groups include elderly people and individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma or emphysema. Children also are at increased risk from exposure to ground-level ozone because their lungs still are developing. In addition, healthy adults can experience problems breathing, especially if they exercise or work outdoors.
- How much is Missouri's share of the Volkswagen Trust?
Missouri will receive more than $41 million from the trust. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is our state’s lead agency; the department will administer funds to eligible businesses and government entities to reduce air pollution from mobile sources.
- How did the department determine who is eligible to receive funding?
The department wanted Missouri citizens to play a major role in developing the state's plan. The department's Air Pollution Control Program hosted public meetings, formed the VW Trust Advisory Committee and sought comments and suggestions through online comment forms and surveys. The air program used stakeholder input to develop a 10-year draft plan for using the funds.
The VW Trust requires that eligible projects must reduce NOx pollution and fall under one of the following categories.
- Class 8: Local freight trucks and port drayage trucks.
- Class 4-8: school buses, shuttle buses and transit buses.
- Freight (locomotive) switchers.
- Shorepower for ocean-going vessels.
- Class 4-7: Local freight trucks.
- Airport ground support.
- Forklifts and equipment for handling port cargo.
- Charging stations for light-duty, zero-emission vehicles.
- Option involving the U.S. Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA).
Visit the Missouri's Plan tab for more information on the guidelines and reports. The department accepted comments on the plan and guidelines through May 4, 2018.
- What is the timeline of the Volkswagen Trust?
Volkswagen Trust Funds Timeline Timing Milestones Oct. 2, 2017 Trust effective date November 2017 - January 2018 Department held public meetings to solicit input. Timing Milestones Dec. 1, 2017 Missouri submitted beneficiary certification form to court. January 2018 Trustee approved certification forms for beneficiaries. April 2018 Missouri released draft plan for using settlement proceeds. Public were able to comment on the plan. June 2018 Missouri finalized beneficiary mitigation plan. Summer 2018 Missouri began accepting applications.
- What happened during the Volkswagen Trust meetings in Missouri?
Before writing the draft beneficiary mitigation plan, the department's Air Pollution Control Program held four informational meetings and other meetings to gather additional input and discuss issues with stakeholders. Information from the meetings appears in chronological order, beginning with the most recent meetings. See Missouri’s Plans and Documents tabs to learn more.
- What comments did the department receive about the Volkswagen Trust Funds?
The department received input regarding the VW Trust in multiple ways. Including the following:
1. Comments given during the three department meetings in Missouri
- Oct. 30, 2017, Jefferson City - Video
- Dec. 7, 2017, Jefferson City - Video
- Jan. 22, 2018, Jefferson City - Video Part 1 | Part 2
2. Comments submitted via the department's online comment form, through email and via letters.
- The comment form was online from Oct. 4, 2017 through April 2, 2018.
- Comments received
3. Answers to two surveys the department created and distributed
4. Collected comments on the draft plan and guidelines
Proposed Implementation Guidelines - comment period ended June 28, 2019
- Who served on the Volkswagen Trust Advisory Committee?
The department opened membership in the VW Trust Advisory Committee to everyone. Interested citizens joined by submitting an online form.
The responsibilities of committee members include:
- Attending meetings of the VW Trust Advisory Committee.
- Helping the department's Air Pollution Control Program review comments and suggestions.
- Advising the air program as it developed its draft of the 10-year beneficiary mitigation plan.
- Providing input and advice regarding Missouri's use of trust funds.
Additional materials about the VW Trust include:
- Volkswagen Trust PUB2724
- EPA's main webpage about settlement
- Judicial webpage about the litigation
- Volkswagen/Audi's webpage for consumers
- VW Application Guidance Workshops Adobe® Powerpoint® Presentation
Court documents relating to the settlement.
- VW partial consent decree regarding the environmental mitigation trust
- Appendices D-1 through D-5 of the VW partial consent decree