Mississippi Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust

The Volkswagen (VW) Diesel Settlement requires VW to establish a $2.7 billion Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund to be distributed among states to fund eligible mitigation projects to replace diesel emission sources with cleaner technology to reduce excess nitrogen oxide (“NOx”) emissions. The Mitigation Trust Fund will be used for projects which will reduce pollution and improve air quality in Mississippi. VW must establish the Mitigation Trust Fund in part to settle claims that it sold vehicles with “defeat devices” designed to cheat emissions tests. Mississippi has been initially allocated $9,874,414 to fund projects designed to reduce NOx emissions in the state. To receive the allocation, Mississippi must elect to become a Beneficiary of the Mitigation Trust within 60 days from the date the Mitigation Trust is established, known as the “Trust Effective Date." Governor Phil Bryant must make the election for Mississippi and designate a lead agency to participate in the Mitigation Trust on behalf of the state. Governor Bryant has identified MDEQ as the lead agency for purposes of administering the state’s trust allocation and will apply for beneficiary status and formally designate MDEQ as the lead agency within 60 days from the Trust Effective Date.

Mitigation Plan and Types of Projects Eligible for Funding

As the lead agency, MDEQ must submit a Mitigation Plan summarizing how it plans to use the Mitigation Trust funds allocated to Mississippi within 90 days from the day the Trustee designates Mississippi as a Beneficiary. The Mitigation Plan is intended to provide the public with insight into the high-level vision for use of the mitigation funds and information about the specific uses for which funding is expected to be requested.

The Mitigation Trust specifies the types of mitigation actions which may be funded. Examples of Mitigation Trust eligible mitigation projects are scraping and replacing or repowering the following types of vehicles and equipment:

Class 8 Local Freight Trucks and Port Drayage Trucks (Eligible Large Trucks)
Class 4-8 School Buses, Shuttle Buses, or Transit Buses
Freight Switchers
Ferries and tugs
Ocean going vessels shorepower
Class 4-7 Local Freight Trucks (Medium Trucks)
Airport ground support equipment
Forklifts and post cargo handling equipment
Diesel Emission Reduction Act non-federal match or overmatch payments (DERA Option).

The Mitigation Trust may fund government and non-government owned mitigation projects. The state may also use up to fifteen percent of its allocation to buy, operate, and maintain zero emission supply equipment (e.g., charging stations, hydrogen dispensing equipment) for certain projects.

Public Participation

MDEQ will provide a public comment period and will hold a public hearing to receive comments on its draft Mitigation Plan. To receive future notifications regarding the public comment period and public hearing date for the draft Mitigation Plan, sign up for the MDEQ VW Environmental Mitigation Trust email list here.




Mississippi VW Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust Comment Form

MDEQ has developed a fillable pdf form web-based form to allow interested stakeholders to submit comments regarding the state’s utilization of environmental mitigation trust fund monies associated with the VW diesel settlement. MDEQ’s Air Division will receive and review the comments. MDEQ will not receive specific requests for project funding until the Mitigation Plan is developed and approved by the Trustee.

Resources:
EPA
DOJ
NASEO
VW Settlement Program
NAACA
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California