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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Wolf Administration Seeks Input on Use of Volkswagen Settlement Funds to Reduce Pollution in PA

The Wolf Administration has released its draft plan, and is encouraging public input, for the use of $118 million from the Volkswagen settlement fund to pay for projects to reduce air pollution in Pennsylvania. Settlement funds will be used to pay for ten types of vehicle upgrade and infrastructure projects, including converting older diesel vehicles and equipment to cleaner burning natural gas, and electric vehicle infrastructure.

“This is an opportunity for us to transparently engage the public in the creation of a plan that will benefit all Pennsylvanians,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “I encourage all stakeholders to provide input to the Department of Environmental Protection as we work together to use this funding to reduce air pollution in the commonwealth.”

Pennsylvania’s allocation is part of a settlement of a federal lawsuit against Volkswagen after VW violated the Federal Clean Air Act by installing emissions testing defeat devices in vehicles sold in the commonwealth and elsewhere. Pennsylvania’s allocation from the trust fund is based upon the over 23,000 illegal vehicles in the commonwealth. Projects funded through the settlement will help mitigate the excess emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOX) from illegally equipped VW vehicles in Pennsylvania.

The settlement allows Pennsylvania to apply to receive approximately $118 million over as many as 10 years from an Environmental Mitigation Trust to fund projects that will reduce emissions from certain types of diesel-powered vehicles and equipment, as a remedy for some of the environmental damages caused by VW.

“This funding gives us the potential to go beyond a simple recall program. It will allow us to reduce pollution and improve air quality in places where residents and visitors work, live and play,” said Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will hold a webinar soliciting feedback on Pennsylvania’s draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 10 A.M. to outline the structure of the proposed plan and further opportunities for the public to provide input. A 45-day public comment period will be open from May 20, 2017 until July 5, 2017.

Listening sessions will be held in each of DEP’s six Regional Offices to receive public comments. DEP will use the comments received to develop the final Mitigation Plan. Comments will be limited to five minutes for each speaker and will be recorded. Speakers are asked to submit one written copy of their comments to DEP staff at the start of the session and organizations are asked to designate one speaker to present comments on their behalf.

Comments may also be submitted using DEP’s eComment system, accessible at http://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/eComment. Written comments may also be submitted by email at eComment@pa.gov or mailed to the Department of Environmental Protection, Policy Office, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063. Comments submitted by fax will not be accepted.

Questions concerning the comment period, webinar, and listening sessions can be directed to the DEP Policy Office at (717) 783-8727. The schedule for listening sessions, a copy of the draft plan, and questions to which the department is seeking responses are available at the department’s Volkswagen website at http://www.dep.pa.gov/Business/Air/Volkswagen/Pages/Environmental-Mitigation-Trust-Agreement.aspx. Preregistration to speak at a listening session is encouraged, but not required.

WHAT: Webinar presentation on Volkswagen settlement draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan (with brief Q&A for accredited media).

WHEN: Tuesday May 23, 2017 at 10:00 AM
To register for the webinar please visit: PA Beneficiary Mitigation Plan Webinar

2 comments :

Anonymous said...

how about using it to get rid of the 8 cent gas tax increase!!!!

Anonymous said...

Why even ask?, Wolf.. Just put the money in your pocket like everything else. Worthless , cheating, lying, democratnicks.