Volkswagen Trust - 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 modules, 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's standards.
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.
Materials concerning the Volkswagen Trust
- EPA's main webpage about settlement
- Court documents
- VW partial consent decree (Agreement regarding environmental mitigation trust)
- Appendices D-1 through D-5 of the VW partial consent decree
- Judicial webpage about litigation
- Volkswagen/Audi's webpage for consumers
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, exposure to 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 will Missouri use funds from the VW Trust?
Missouri expects to 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.
The department's Air Pollution Control Program is hosting public meetings and proactively seeking comments from the public and interested stakeholders. The department will use stakeholder input to develop a 10-year plan for using the funds. Eligible projects must reduce NOx pollution and correspond with one of the following classifications.
- 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)
Timeline of Volkswagen Trust
Time frames are subject to change.
|Oct. 2, 2017||Trust effective date (TED)|
|November 2017–January 2018||Department holds public meetings to solicit input.|
|Dec. 1, 2017||Missouri must submit beneficiary certification form to court.|
|January 2018||Trustee approves certification forms for beneficiaries.|
|March 2018||Missouri releases proposed plan for using settlement proceeds. Public may comment on plan.|
|May 2018||Missouri finalizes beneficiary mitigation plan.|
|Summer 2018||Missouri begins accepting applicants.|
The department will keep all Missourians informed as it moves forward. Receive the latest email updates or check this website for information about Missouri's 10-year plan, funded projects, application processes and other relevant information.