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What did Volkswagen do?

Between 2009 and 2015, Volkswagen (VW) sold approximately 500,000 2.0 L diesel vehicles equipped with "defeat devices" designed to control emissions during certification and to illegally turn off emissions controls during on-road driving. These vehicles emit up to 40 times more nitrogen oxide (NOx) than EPA and California-compliant levels. NOx is an air pollutant that contributes to the formation of ozone and particulate matter. It can greatly aggravate health problems such as asthma and cardio-pulmonary disease, and is a particularly serious and expensive problem in California.

What is this Partial Consent Decree?

This partial consent decree partially resolves these alleged violations. For more details on the overall national agreement, see http://www.VWcourtsettlement.com.

It is referred to as “partial” because it does not deal with actual penalties against the company. Those will be determined through a separate process.

What does the Partial Consent Decree do?

When final, the partial consent decree (consent decree) provides every vehicle owner a choice on how to handle their vehicle, and fully mitigates all environmental harm associated with VW's use of a defeat device. This consent decree sends a clear message that California's tough vehicle emissions certification program catches cheaters, and that evading California's air quality rules is not only illegal and wrong, but also an expensive and ill-advised business decision. CARB has a stringent vehicle emission certification, compliance, and enforcement program that will only get tougher on cheaters and others who do not strictly adhere to the requirements.

How much money will California receive under this Consent Decree?

California will receive about $1.2 billion in total. VW must pay into two separate programs. The first provides about $381 million to California for NOx mitigation (the Mitigation Trust). The second will be a zero emission vehicle (ZEV) investment fund (the ZEV Investment Commitment). $800 million dollars from that fund will be invested in California. This money does not address penalties or any claims concerning 3.0-liter diesel vehicles, and does not address any potential criminal liability. Those will be addressed in a separate process.

When will money for mitigation be available for projects?

Within 60 days of the establishment of the Mitigation Trust, Governor Brown will certify a Lead Agency, which can be an agency, department, office, or division to oversee the implementation of Mitigation Trust on behalf of California. Within 120 days of the Mitigation Trust being established, the Governor can request that allocation of California’s $381 million be paid out to California for its use according to the terms set out in Appendix D. The consent decree only allows up to one-third to be paid out during the first year, or up to two-thirds during the first two years.

How will the Mitigation Fund projects be selected?

For the Mitigation Trust, California will undertake a public process to allow members of the Legislature and the public to provide input and comments on which projects identified in Appendix D should be funded by the settlement. How will the Investment Commitment projects be decided? For the ZEV Investment Commitment, approval of the Consent Decree triggers a 100-day window for CARB and VW to meet to discuss CARB’s ideas for the draft California Investment Plan. CARB will host a public process before it meets with VW. VW then has 120 days after the consent decree is approved to submit its draft proposed investment plan for the first 30-month investment cycle to CARB for CARB’s approval. This plan must contain projects totaling at least $200 million dollars, and is expected to invest in ZEV charging and other infrastructure, as well as public outreach. VW will submit an investment plan every 29 months after that, each one covering $200 million dollars in investments until the full $800 million is spent. CARB will take public input and provide ideas and comments to VW on each funding plan. Each plan will only be approved after CARB’s comments are addressed.

What kind of environmental projects will be paid for out of the Mitigation Trust?

To address all past and future excess emissions of NOx from the 2.0-liter cars sold in California under the terms of the Consent Decree, VW must pay about $381 million over a three-year period into a trust for projects to replace older and dirtier heavy duty diesel vehicles and equipment with cleaner vehicles and equipment, including advanced zero- or near-zero technologies. This provides an opportunity to focus reductions of emissions in disadvantaged communities and other communities that were impacted . Californians will have the opportunity for public input on potential projects to be funded with this money. California’s share of the $2.7 billion mitigation fund is proportional to its share of the total number of affected diesel cars.

What is included in the money in the ZEV Investment Commitment?

Under the consent decree, Volkswagen's investments could include zero-emission vehicle fueling and charging infrastructure, brand-neutral consumer awareness campaigns to increase awareness of the zero-emission vehicle market, and projects such as car-sharing programs that will increase access to zero emission vehicles for all consumers in California. These projects will support the next generation of zero emission vehicles that will be sold in California, helping to build the foundation for achieving the State's air quality and climate goals.

Where can I go to comment on the proposed project selection for the Mitigation Trust or ZEV Investment Commitment?

Selection of projects will be determined with input from a public process, including public workshops and comment periods. Information about upcoming workshops will be posted at https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/vw_info/vw-diesel-info/vw-diesel-info.htm .  If you have additional questions about either elements of the mitigation in the Consent Decree, please contact pio@arb.ca.gov.

If you want to learn more about Volkswagen?s ZEV Investment Commitment or submit a proposal, visit www.electrifyamerica.com

California will receive about $1.2 billion in total. VW must pay into two separate programs. The first provides about $381 million to California for NOx mitigation (the Mitigation Trust). The second will be a zero emission vehicle (ZEV) investment fund (the ZEV Investment Commitment). $800 million dollars from that fund will be invested in California. This money does not address penalties or any claims concerning 3.0-liter diesel vehicles, and does not address any potential criminal liability. Those will be addressed in a separate process.

Glossary

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