Gov. Phil Bryant has designated the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to administer the state’s portion of the funds resulting from the Volkswagen Diesel Settlement. The state has been allocated $9,874,414 out of the $2.7 billion Environmental Mitigation Trust to implement air emissions reduction projects. Each of the states involved in the litigation will receive settlements based on the number of offending vehicles registered in that state. VW established the Mitigation Trust Fund, in part, to settle claims under the Clean Air Act that it sold vehicles with “defeat devices” designed to cheat emissions tests for its diesel vehicles.
“MDEQ has managed a successful Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) program for many years that has reduced diesel emissions statewide. I am confident the agency will administer these funds with the best benefit for the state’s air quality and economy,” said Bryant.
The funds from the trust will be used to fund mitigation projects to replace older diesel emission sources with cleaner technology to reduce excess nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and improve air quality in Mississippi. Examples of projects could include replacing or modifying vehicles and equipment such as:
· Class 8 local freight trucks and port trucks (large trucks)
· Class 4-8 school buses, shuttle buses, or transit buses
· Railway freight switchers
· Ferries and tugs
· Shorepower for ocean going vessels
· Class 4-7 local freight trucks (medium trucks)
· Airport ground support equipment
· Forklifts and post cargo handling equipment
· Supplementing the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) program
Funds may be used for government and non-government owned mitigation projects, and the state may also use up to 15 percent of its allocation to buy, operate, and maintain zero emission supply equipment such as charging stations or hydrogen dispensing equipment.