On Dec. 12, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection released a draft second amendment to the Final Massachusetts Volkswagen Settlement Beneficiary Mitigation Plan.

Massachusetts received $75 million of the national settlement, the first tranche of which was finalized in December 2018 through the Final Massachusetts Volkswagen Beneficiary Mitigation Plan. The plan detailed the Commonwealth’s allocation of $40.7 million toward the electrification of regional transit authority buses, installation of light duty electric vehicle supply equipment, and replacement of affected diesel vehicles or equipment with electric versions.

The draft second amendment details the proposed expenditure of the remaining $34.3 million, as follows:
• $26.8 million for the Cape Ann, Cape Cod, Montachusett and Southeastern regional transit authorities to electrify transit buses and purchase charging equipment
• $7.5 million for the VW Open Solicitation offering to replace diesel vehicles or equipment with electric vehicles and equipment
• $50,000 for administrative costs associated with dispersing checks to grantees

The 2017 Volkswagen Settlement was a result of a multi-year vehicle emissions scandal in which the company sold 590,000 diesel cars (2009 through 2016) that contained “defeat devices” — software that could detect when the vehicles were being tested, allowing the diesel cars to pass laboratory and station testing even though they emitted nitrogen oxides at levels up to 40 times the allowable limits during normal operation.

Volkswagen was found to have violated the Clean Air Act and other federal and state regulations and agreed to pay billions of dollars toward environmental mitigation and clean-emissions infrastructure causes, as well as repairing or buying back the affected vehicles.

The MassDEP is seeking public comment on the proposed draft second amendment through Jan. 13. Comments may be sent to vw.settlement@mass.gov with the subject line “Comments on VW BMP Amendment.”

For more information, visit the MassDEP website.

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