SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's share of a $15.7 billion settlement with Volkswagen over emission cheats on its vehicles is headed this way, and regulators are seeking public input on how it should be sent.
The $35 million settlement is to offset nitrogen oxide emissions from the estimated 7,000 VW, Audi and Porsche vehicles in Utah affected by "cheat" devices that vastly undercounted emissions they produced.
Beginning Wednesday, the public can weigh in with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality on what ways the money could be spent to address the state's air quality concerns.
“While we continue to make progress at reducing emissions, we still have work to do to ensure we all breathe healthy air,” said Alan Matheson, the department's executive director. “We will direct funds from the VW settlement toward eligible strategies that give us the most air quality benefit per dollar spent.”3 comments on this story
The agency will develop an environmental mitigation plan, required under the terms of the settlement and by a subsequent directive from the Utah Legislature. The settlement identified certain categories of vehicles and equipment eligible for funding under the agreement, local large freight trucks, class 4-8 school, shuttle or transit buses; freight switchers, medium trucks, airport ground support equipment and forklifts.
A portion of the money may also be used to build electric vehicle infrastructure.
The Department of Environmental Quality is seeking input for the mitigation plan through Nov. 30. More information is available on the state's website.
Volkswagen admitted to installing cheat software on 580,000 of its vehicles that produced results indicating those vehicles passed emission standards. In realty, the exhaust pipes had as much as 40 times over what the law allows.