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VW Mitigation Plan

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.

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.

Delaware’s Mitigation Plan

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 has developed a phased mitigation plan.

Phase 1

Under Phase 1, Year 1 (2019), Delaware completed the replacement of 57 state-owned school buses (35 replaced as propane and 22 replaced as clean diesel). Delaware spent $995.227.20 in 2019.

In Phase 1, Year 2 (2020), Delaware will replace another 24 state-owned school buses and anticipates spending $641,758.80.

Phase 1, Year 3 (2021) is anticipated to include additional bus replacements.

Phase 2

For Phase 2, in 2020, Delaware will replace 10 solid waste garbage trucks as compressed natural gas with Waste Management of Delaware, Inc. and one privately-owned school bus as an electric school bus with The Teen Warehouse, Inc. Delaware anticipates spending $183,981 on the solid waste garbage trucks and $177,694 on the electric bus and the electric charging infrastructure.

Lifetime emission reductions for Phase 1 and 2 replacements (in short tons):

NOx – 38.304
PM2.5 – 2.497

HC – 3.725
CO – 14.131

Phase 3

In Phase 3 (2020/2021), DNREC will allocate funds to the replacement of five government-owned dump trucks.  DNREC will also allocate funds to projects based on a competitive request for proposal (RFP) in all eligible mitigation action categories.  The RFP for Phase 3 closed on June 1, 2020. The projects selected will be announced in the fall of 2020 and will begin in 2021.

Phase 4

Plans for spending in Phase 4 will be announced in the fall of 2020.

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.

Public Involvement

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