The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) listed school bus replacements and engine repowers as eligible projects to receive a portion of the $2.7-billion trust that Volkswagen was ordered to fund for deliberately designing software to cheat federal emission laws for diesel cars.
As part of a settlement reached with federal and state regulators and to rectify the excess NOx emissions spewed into the atmosphere from the 500,000 cars that Volkswagen sold under fraudulent pretenses, the German automotive company has agreed to endow the Mitigation Trust Fund to replace or repower older diesel engines or help transition diesel fleets to zero-emissions electric power.
The National School Transportation Association lauded the decision to include school buses as eligible projects.
“NSTA welcomes this agreement by EPA, CARB and Volkswagen. Continued funding for the purchase of newer or the repowering of older school buses is a win-win for the communities (that) school bus contractors serve and the children they safely transport every day,” said NSTA President Todd Monteferrario in a statement.
The Mitigation Trust Fund represents only a small portion of the total penalty handed down this week, as Volkswagen must pay $14.7 billion for its criminal negligence of falsifying emissions reports, duping emissions tests with cheat software and deceiving consumers who purchased the German automotive company’s supposed “clean diesel” 2.0-liter diesel vehicles from 2009 through 2015.
“Today’s settlement restores clean air protections that Volkswagen so blatantly violated,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “And it secures billions of dollars in investments to make our air and our auto industry even cleaner for generations of Americans to come. This agreement shows that EPA is committed to upholding standards to protect public health, enforce the law, and to find innovative ways to protect clean air.”