FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 05, 2019
Department awards nearly $7 million from Volkswagen Trust
JEFFERSON CITY, MO, SEPT. 5, 2019 – The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has awarded nearly $7 million for 157 projects to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. This is a portion of more than $41 million allocated to Missouri from the Volkswagen Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust fund.
The trust is part of a 2016 settlement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Volkswagen. Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act between 2009 and 2016 by selling vehicles equipped with computer software that would cause engines to emit lower levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) during emission tests, than during normal use. Volkswagen agreed to settle some of the allegations and established the trust to fund efforts that reduce the emission of NOx from diesel engines.
As Missouri’s trust beneficiary, the department plans to distribute its $41 million share over the next several years. This will be accomplished through competitive application programs designed to replace aging vehicles or engines with newer, cleaner-emitting models.
From July 2018 through June 2019, the department awarded nearly $7 million in funding across three eligible project categories: school buses ($4.9 million); government-owned medium or large trucks ($1.3 million); and, transit or shuttle buses ($506,000). This resulted in an estimated NOx reduction of 126.6 tons during that year. Missouri’s 10-year goal is to reduce annual NOx emissions by 1,200 tons to 2,000 tons through this effort.
The project goes beyond air quality benefits. The program was able to fully fund the replacement of 28 school buses for financially disadvantaged school districts. This has the added benefit of newer, safer student transportation that would otherwise be unattainable for these districts.
“This project is a win-win for Missouri’s environment and for our local schools, governments, and businesses struggling to bring aging fleets up to date,” said Department Director Carol Comer. “We are grateful to the VW Trust Advisory Committee, which represents a diverse group of interested people, businesses, and industries all working together to implement transformative projects that will improve air quality for Missourians.”
A full listing of awarded projects and a table of award totals is available on the trust website at https://dnr.mo.gov/env/apcp/vw/projects/index.html.
The next application round is targeted toward three different categories: non-government-owned medium and large trucks; locomotive and marine equipment; and, airport and cargo equipment. Applications for these projects will be solicited in late 2019.
For more information, contact MOVWTeam@dnr.mo.gov.