Contact: Risikat Adesaogun, 651-757-2056
Today, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) released the state’s plan to invest $47 million from the national Volkswagen settlement in a better, cleaner Minnesota environment. The settlement funds were made available following a 2016 federal court ruling that found Volkswagen programmed diesel cars to cheat on emissions tests, which spewed hundreds of tons of excess pollution into Minnesota’s air.
“The funds Minnesota is receiving through this settlement have provided our state a unique opportunity to improve the quality of our air and our environment,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “I commend the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and its many stakeholders, for developing this comprehensive proposal. I encourage Minnesotans to offer their input during this public comment period, so that we can deliver the best possible plan to provide cleaner air and an even better environment for our children and grandchildren.”
“Even with the technical limitations of how these funds can be used, it’s still very important that Minnesotans have every chance to be heard,” said MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine. “Their voice will help us in the process of righting this wrong.”
Minnesota’s Volkswagen plan was crafted with significant public input provided over a year of nine public meetings held across the state, nearly 300 written comments, and over 800 survey responses to determine how Minnesotans want to spend the settlement funds. Key themes that surfaced in public comments included cost effectiveness, electric vehicles, alternative fuels, and reducing pollution in local communities. The MPCA incorporated these priorities in the plan that calls for spending the money in three phases, targeting $11.75 million in the first two years.
The Minnesota Volkswagen settlement funds will be distributed in three phases over 10 years, with at least 40% of the funds being targeted to Greater Minnesota. The plan released today details the first phase of spending settlement funds to replace large, older, dirtier diesel equipment or vehicles. Later phases will take account of changing technologies and lessons learned in the first phase.
The Minnesota Volkswagen Plan directs funding to the following community investments:
- School bus replacement — 20%
- Heavy-duty on-road vehicles — 35%
- Heavy-duty off-road equipment — 15%
- Heavy-duty electric vehicles — 15%
- Electric vehicle charging stations — 15%
Public Comment Period
The draft Minnesota Volkswagen plan is open for public comment through March 19. During the 30-day public comment period, the MPCA will conduct public meetings around the state to gather feedback on the draft plan:
Twin Cities meetings:
- St. Paul: Feb. 28, MPCA offices, 520 Lafayette Rd. N., St. Paul, Minn.
- Minneapolis: March 8, Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center, 2001 Plymouth Ave. N., Minneapolis, Minn.
Greater Minnesota meetings:
- Brainerd: March 5, MPCA offices, 7678 College Rd., Suite 105, Baxter, Minn.
- Detroit Lakes: March 5, MPCA offices, 714 Lake Ave., Suite 220, Detroit Lakes, Minn.
- Rochester: March 5, MPCA offices, 18 Wood Lake Dr. SE, Rochester, Minn.
- Marshall: March 5, MPCA offices, 504 Fairgrounds Rd., Suite 200, Marshall, Minn.
- Duluth: March 13, MPCA offices, 525 Lake Ave. S., Suite 400, Duluth, Minn.
- Mankato: March 15, MPCA offices, 12 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 2165, Mankato, Minn.
Visit the MPCA's Volkswagen settlement webpage to learn more about the settlement, view the plan, and get more information about upcoming public meetings.
Once the final plan has been submitted the court-designated trustee, the MPCA, will begin soliciting applications for local community projects, likely in summer 2018.