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Settlement funds go to creating green jobs in Connecticut

Posted on December 2, 2018

A slew of funds from a recent settlement may go to creating green jobs in Connecticut.

Connecticut is making available $12.2 million dollars from the legal settlement in the Volkswagen (VW) Corporation emissions cheating scandal to fund ten clean air projects in the state.

Administered through the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Connecticut is one of the first states in the nation to make these funds available for a variety of diesel mitigation projects. The ten projects announced today are part of the first funding cycle under the distribution of the state’s VW settlement funding.

“Climate change is real and cannot be ignored. It is vitally important that we set high standards for reducing emissions,” Governor Malloy said. “While it will be impossible to offset all of the pollution resulting from VW’s illegal actions, the projects we are supporting through the settlement funds will go a long way in helping to improve air quality and protect public health in Connecticut while also providing significant economic development opportunities.”

“The transportation sector is responsible for approximately 70 percent of smog forming air pollution and 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Connecticut,” DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee said. “The VW funding will help us realize additional nitrogen oxide and greenhouse gas emission reductions from mobile sources in Connecticut and move us closer towards meeting health-based air quality standards and long-term greenhouse gas reduction targets.”

In 2015, Volkswagen publicly admitted that it had secretly and deliberately installed a defeat device – software designed to cheat emissions tests and deceive federal and state regulators – in nearly 590,000 VW, Audi, and Porsche model year 2009 to 2016 diesel vehicles sold to American consumers. As a result of a federal civil enforcement case against VW for violating the Clean Air Act, Connecticut is expected to receive over $55.7 million to be distributed over a ten-year period for use towards offsetting the excess nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution emitted in the state by these vehicles.

Earlier this year, DEEP launched the VW Diesel Emissions Mitigation Program and began accepting applications to fund projects that will further the goals of the settlement agreement. The agency received 56 applications from both non-government and government entities. Projects were ranked by a variety of criteria, including air pollution reduction, cost effectiveness, positive impact on environmental justice communities, transformative impact, and applicant cost sharing.

The ten projects that are being awarded money under the first funding cycle will mitigate 145 tons of excess NOx emissions over the lifetime of the projects at a cost of $84,234 per ton of NOx reduced. The projects will also reduce over 7,600 tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from being released into the atmosphere. In addition to NOx and greenhouse gas, a total of 10.3 tons volatile organic compounds (VOC) and 6.6 tons of fine particulate matter, which contributes to asthma and other bronchial conditions, will be cost-effectively reduced from environmental justice communities and other areas of Connecticut that bear a disproportionate share of air pollution.

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