Department of Justice Submits Amended Partial Consent Decree for Volkswagen Case (September 30, 2016) 

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has submitted for court approval an amended Partial Consent Decree related to Volkswagen’s alleged illegal use of emission control "defeat devices" on nearly 500,000 2.0-liter diesel vehicles of Model Years 2009 through 2015. Under the proposed settlements, VW agreed, among other things, to pay $2.7 billion for a Mitigation Trust Fund to be allocated among states and tribes for pollution reduction projects. On June 28, 2016, the parties (including DOJ, EPA, the California Air Resources Board and Volkswagen) announced a proposed consent decree and requested public comment. NACAA submitted comments on the proposal on August 2, 2016.

Based on the input received from the public and further negotiations among the parties, revisions to the partial consent decree were agreed upon and have been submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for final approval (U.S. v. Volkswagen AG, et al, Case No. 3:16-cv-00295). The revisions are not extensive – largely limited to Appendix D of the proposed consent decree – and are highlighted in a red-lined version of the document. Among the changes are allowing beneficiaries (e.g., states) 90 days after being 3 deemed a beneficiary to submit a “Beneficiary Mitigation Plan” that summarizes how the funds will be used. The proposed settlement originally called for plans to be submitted within 30 days. Additionally, the amended plan allows newer engines to be eligible under the program (up to model year 2009, rather than model year 2006), provides greater flexibility with respect to the percentage of the costs of repowering and replacement that are permitted to be covered and increases the amount of administrative expenses that may be claimed from 10 percent to 15 percent of the total cost of an eligible mitigation action.

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