Volkswagen Trust

Air Pollution Control Program fact sheet
05/2018
Division of Environmental Quality Director: Ed Galbraith
PUB2724

Background

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 emission 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 testing to guarantee passing scores.

The U.S. 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 affected VW vehicles contained concentrations of nitrogen oxides (NOx) up to 40 times the federal standard, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 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. 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 the department's role? 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, governments and other entities to reduce air pollution from mobile sources. Missouri expects to receive more than $41 million. 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 trust funds corresponds to the percentage of vehicles sold in the state.  

Time Milestone
Oct. 2, 2017 Trust effective date

November 2017–January 2018

Department held public meetings to solicit input.

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. The public may comment.

June 2018

Missouri finalizes beneficiary mitigation plan.

Summer 2018

Missouri begins accepting applications.

What types of projects are eligible for reimbursement?

As required under the trust, 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.)

Do funds from the Volkswagen Trust work the same as money from grants issued via the U.S. Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA)? Does it replace them?

It is similar, but not the same as DERA. An option exists for matching DERA funds, which increases money available for these types of projects.

Does Missouri or the department “make money” on the Volkswagen Trust?

No, the money is going to fund NOx emission-reduction projects — also referred to as NOx mitigation — conducted by individuals, companies, governments and other entities. The consent decree, however, allows the department and 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 allocations by the deadline. The trustee will divide any remaining funds based on initial disbursement percentages.  

Who decides how to disburse the money?

In October 2017, the department began publicizing information about the VW Trust and inviting public comment. An online survey allowed anyone to comment and submit ideas for projects. In addition, the department hosted public meetings to inform the public about the settlement and receive comments and suggestions. In early April, the department posted the draft of its beneficiary mitigation plan as well as its draft guidelines for implementing the plan. The public could comment on both draft documents through May 4, 2018. Now that the public comment period has closed, the department is considering all comments and finalizing the plan and implementation guidelines. The department will submit the plan to the trustee prior to implementation. In the draft plan, the department does not specify projects for funding; instead, the department presents its vision for using the funds. The implementation guidelines describe how the department will select projects and distribute funds.

How can I access the draft plan and draft implementation guidelines?

Missouri’s draft beneficiary mitigation plan and draft implementation guidelines are available for public review at dnr.mo.gov/env/apcp/vw/index.html. Click on the graphic box called "Read Missouri's draft VW plan" to access the documents. In addition, you may access the following:

* A compilation of comments received through May 4, 2018, the end of the comment period.
* Materials and a video from the public meeting about the drafts on April 20, 2018, in Jefferson City.

What do I do if I own an affected vehicle?

The department 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 settlement proceeds. The department will notify everyone on the email list any time an application period opens. 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 type of project?

No. Furthermore, stakeholder input is critical to developing the final beneficiary mitigation plan. The draft plan and draft guidelines for implementation describe the types of projects and explain how the state will prioritize target areas when soliciting and selecting projects.

How can I stay up to date on the VW Trust in Missouri?

The department will continue to keep all Missourians informed as it moves forward. Receive the latest information by signing up for Volkswagen Trust bulletins. Click the “Get updates on this issue” link on dnr.mo.gov/env/apcp/vw/index.html or check the department’s website for information about projects, applications, chosen applicants and other relevant information.

When project selection occurs, the department will post all relevant information, including names of recipients; funding levels; cost-share percentages and anticipated reductions in NOx emissions.

Contact Information Regarding VW Trust

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/index.html

Additional Information

Please see the following additional information or contact the department.