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.
Division of Air Quality
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 DNREC 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 of Delaware has developed a phased mitigation plan. The table below provides a brief summary of the projects and planned spending.
|Phase||Project Sponsor||Description of Replacement||Project Cost|
|1 – year 1 (2019)||Delaware Department of Education||57 state-owned school buses
– 23 propane
– 22 clean diesel
|1 – year 2 (2020)||Delaware Department of Education||24 state-owned school buses
– 1 propane
– 23 clean diesel
|Phase 2 (2020)||Waste Management of Delaware, Inc.||Solid waste refuse trucks
– 10 compressed natural gas
|Phase 3 (2021)||DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife||Flatbed trucks
– 5 clean diesel
|Phase 3 (2021)||Sutton Bus and Trucking Co, Inc.||Private school buses
– 8 propane
|Phase 3 (2021)||Bowman Bus Service, Inc.||Private school bus
– 1 clean diesel
NOx – 38.304
PM2.5 – 2.497
HC – 3.725
CO – 14.131
As part of Phase 4, the DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy accepted grant proposals to support the installation of publicly-available DC-fast charging stations for electric vehicles in Delaware.
The DNREC Division of Air Quality also accepted grant proposals to improve the state’s air by reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx). A virtual public meeting was held on Wednesday, Feb. 15 to help organizations apply for the grants. Bids were due by close of business on Monday, March 21.
The phased plan allows the state to build transparency and involve the public in reviewing and revising the plan between phases. It helps the state learn which projects work best, and modify requests for proposals in subsequent phases to focus on the most effective projects. It allows the state to identify and focus on environmental justice areas. And it allows the state to adjust priorities and investments based on the newest and most up-to-date vehicle technology.
Phase 3 Request for Proposals
Phase 2 Request for Proposals
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