A 2017 agreement between the federal government and the Volkswagen Corporation (VW) created an Environmental Mitigation Trust to fund projects that mitigate air quality impacts from high-emitting diesel vehicles and engines. Delaware’s share of the Environmental Mitigation Trust is approximately $9.6 million. DNREC has developed a mitigation plan to accept and distribute these funds to eligible projects.
Request for Proposals
Delaware is taking proposals for Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund Projects that reduce nitrogen oxide and other emissions, are cost-effective, and provide environmental benefits to communities disproportionately impacted by air pollution. The solicitation can be found on the OMB website at bids.delaware.gov. There was a mandatory pre-bid meeting on Wednesday, February 13, 2019. Proposals must be submitted by 4:00 p.m., March 28, 2019.
The agreement stemmed from a federal investigation of the VW Corporation and its subsidiaries regarding the installation and use of emissions-testing “defeat devices” in over 500,000 vehicles sold and operated in the United States beginning in 2009. Use of these defeat devices has increased air emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx), resulting in adverse impacts to air quality and violating the federal Clean Air Act.
In response to the Settlement, the Division of Air Quality has developed a Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Plan to accept and distribute funds to eligible projects. The plan is focused on the eligible types of mitigation actions that can produce the greatest air quality benefit in terms of NOx emission reductions, reduce public exposure, and promote clean vehicle technologies.
The state has developed a three-phase mitigation plan between 2018 and 2021, with about one third of the funds used in each phase.
In Phase 1 (2018/2019), DNREC will replace old diesel school buses with new cleaner school buses.
In Phase 2 (2019/2020), DNREC will release a competitive request for proposals (RFP) for projects in all categories. Projects will be determined by eligibility criteria set forth in the plan.
In Phase 3 (2020/2021), DNREC will allocate 15% of the funds for electric vehicle supply equipment and evaluate Phase 1 and 2 to develop a path forward to best fit Delaware’s needs with the remaining funds. Projects may consist of more school bus replacements or another RFP.
A phased plan will allow the state to build transparency and involve the public in reviewing and revising the plan between phases. It will help the state learn which projects work best, and modify requests for proposals in subsequent phases to focus on the most effective projects. It will allow the state to identify and focus on environmental justice areas. And it will allow the state to adjust priorities and investments based on the newest and most up-to-date vehicle technology.
DNREC holds periodic public meetings to gather feedback on the Mitigation Plan. It provides a VW Mitigation Plan email list to share updates on the project. To subscribe, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wilmington Tug – Bill Martin
Public Comments – Judy Jordan
General Motors – Britta Gross
Greenlots – Ashley Thomas
Cummins – Carl Jones
Yborra&Associates – Stephe Yborra
Delaware Department of Education – Secretary Susan Bunting
Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy Association – Bill MacLeod