The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association released the following statement today in response to the Illinois Environmental Protections Agency’s recent proposal for the administration of funds allocated to Illinois from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust (Trust) brought forth from the multi-billion dollar settlement with the federal government for violations of the Clean Air Act:
“We applaud the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for their reasoned and comprehensive approach to help mitigate the impact of the Volkswagen air emission violations. The recently released plan spends more than $100 million to help improve Illinois’ air quality in the most affected areas including Chicago and the Metro East. The EPA’s plan wisely maximizes the benefit to Illinois residents by ensuring that resources are used to attain the largest emission reductions. Once approved, the plan will lead to more all-electric buses, additional charging infrastructure, and the replacement of current engines with cleaner and more efficient technology. This is a win for Illinois residents,” Mark Denzler, Vice President and COO, Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.
Volkswagen has publically admitted to equipping half a million diesel cars in the U.S. with software to cheat on emissions tests between 2009-2016 — resulting in the cars emitting between 10 and 40 times the allowable levels of nitrogen oxides. Illinois believes that it can achieve 1800 tons of NOx reductions while still providing substantial funding to promote and support on-road alternate fuel and zero emission vehicle transition. Actual emissions reductions will be dependent on the types of projects submitted during the application periods and which are selected for funding.
Illinois EPA has prepared a draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan that establishes three overall goals for use of the Trust funds:
- Reduce NOx emissions in areas where the affected Volkswagen vehicles are registered while taking into consideration areas that bear a disproportionate share of the air pollution burden, including environmental justice areas;
- Maximize emissions reductions; and
- Maximize and leverage funding.
In addition, three priority areas have also been established in the BMP to understand emission reductions in the areas where the vehicles were located while taking into account the disproportionate air quality impacts in those areas:
- Priority Area 1: The Chicago metropolitan non-attainment area (Cook, DuPage, Will, Lake, McHenry, and Kane Counties, and Goose Lake and Aux Sable Townships in Grundy County, and Oswego Township in Kendall County)
- Priority Area 2 – Metro-East St. Louis non-attainment area (St. Clair, Madison and Monroe Counties)
- Priority Area 3 – Seven counties, each with more than 1% of the total affected VW vehicles (Champaign, DeKalb, LaSalle, McLean, Peoria, Sangamon and Winnebago Counties)
For more information, please visit www.epa.illinois.gov.