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 Volkswagen (VW) Diesel Emission Environmental Mitigation Trust

 Volkswagen Consent Decree

In September and November 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board  issue a compliance order due alleged Volkswagen violations to the Clean Air Act due the secretly installation of defeat devices with software designed to cheat emissions test and deceive federal and state regulators in certain Volkswagen and it is subsidiaries (Volkswagen or VW) diesel vehicles.

On October 25, 2016 and May 17, 2017, two Partial Consent Decrees were approved between the United States, California, and Volkswagen. Pursuant to both consent decree, the Volkswagen Diesel Emission Environmental Mitigation Trust for State Beneficiaries, Puerto Rico and the District of Colombia (VW Mitigation Trust or Trust) was established. As a beneficiary of the Trust, the Government of Puerto Rico developed a Beneficiary Mitigation Plan that summarize how the Government of Puerto Rico plans to use the mitigation funds. 

Mitigation Trust Fund
The goals of the Partial Consent Decrees include the reduction of NOx emissions and mitigate the total lifetime excess emission of NOx in the areas where the vehicles sold by VW were, are or will be operated.  In order to accomplish this goals, VW establish a State Mitigation Trust to provide funds for Eligible Mitigation Actions and Trust Administrative Costs.

The Partial Consent Decrees establish a Trust which will provide funds to the Government of Puerto Rico in order to implement actions that counter the air quality impacts of the excess NOx emissions resulting from the use of the defeat devices. The allocation to New Jersey is $72.2 million. On January 29, 2018  the Trustee filed a Notice of Beneficiary Designation designating Puerto Rico as a Beneficiary of the State Trust. As required by Environmental Mitigation Trust Agreement, the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board (now Department of Natural and Environmental Resources)  was identified as Lead Agency.

Health Effect NOx
According to EPA technical bulleting Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Why and How They Are Controlled, NOx represent a family of seven compounds. EPA regulates only nitrogen dioxide (NO2) as a surrogate for this family of compounds because it is the most prevalent form of NOx.  In the atmosphere that is generated by human activities (Nitrogen Dioxide Basic Information). Breathing air with a high concentration of NO2 can irritate airways in the human respiratory system. Such exposures over short periods can aggravate respiratory diseases, particularly asthma. Longer exposures to elevated concentrations of NO2 may contribute to the development of asthma and potentially increase susceptibility to respiratory infections. NO2 along with other NOx contributes to the formation of ground level ozone and particulate matter which negatively impacts the respiratory system and cardiovascular health.

 State Mitigation Plan

Pursuant to the VW Mitigation Trust, the Government of Puerto Rico is required to prepare, submit and make publicly available a beneficiary mitigation plan to the trustee before the trustee distribute funds to state. The Environmental Mitigation Trust Agreement for State Beneficiaries specifies that the following issues be addressed in the Mitigation Plan:

•The state's overall goal for the use of the funds;

•The categories of Eligible Mitigation Actions that the state anticipates will be appropriate to achieve the stated goals, and the preliminary assessment of the percentages of funds anticipated to be used for each type of Eligible Mitigation Action;

•A description of how the state will consider the potential beneficial impact of the selected Eligible Mitigation Actions on air quality in areas that bear a disproportionate share of the air pollution burden within its jurisdiction;

•A general description of the expected ranges of emission benefits that the state estimates would be realized by implementation of the Eligible Mitigation Actions identified in the Mitigation Plan; and

•An explanation of how the state will seek and consider public input on its Mitigation Plan.


The mitigation plan is available for public comments and review.  Follow the link to see the Puerto Rico Mitigation Plan. This Plan is intended to provide the public a general vision for use of the mitigation funds and information about potential specific uses for which funding is expected to be requested. This Plan does not create any binding or rights in any person to claim an entitlement of any kind.

The Puerto Rico Environmental Board request input the public seeking comments and suggestions for NOx mitigation projects that would be utilize fund efficiently and reduce NOx emission island wide.  PREQB will consider all comments, suggestions or project proposals submitted to the following e-mail address:  vwmititrust@jca.pr.gov.  Comments to the Mitigation Plans and responses will be published in this webpage.

 Eligible Mitigation Actions

The Environmental Mitigation Trust Agreement for State Beneficiaries specifies the projects eligible for the Mitigation Trust Fund. There are 10 categories of Eligible Mitigation Actions.  All mitigation actions proposals will be evaluated. However, is expected that the following actions will be predominant in the proposals:

•Action 1 - Class 8 local freight trucks and port drayage trucks

•Large Trucks include 1992-2009 engine model year Class 8 Local Freight or Drayage.

•Large Trucks may be Repowered with any new diesel or Alternate Fueled engine or All-Electric engine or may be replaced with any new diesel or Alternate Fueled or All-Electric vehicle, with the engine model year in which the Eligible Large Trucks Mitigation Action occurs or one engine model year prior.

•Action 2 - Class 4-8 school bus, shuttle bus or transit bus.

•Buses include 2009 engine model year or older class 4-8 school buses, shuttle buses, or transit buses.

•Buses may be Repowered with any new diesel or Alternate Fueled or All-Electric engine, or may be replaced with any new diesel or Alternate Fueled or All-Electric vehicle, with the engine model year in which the Eligible Bus Mitigation Action occurs or one engine model year prior.

•Action 6 – Class 4-7 local freight trucks

•Eligible Medium Trucks include 1992-2009 engine model year class 4-7 Local Freight trucks.

•Trucks may be Repowered with any new diesel or Alternate Fueled or All-Electric engine, or may be replaced with any new diesel or Alternate Fueled or All-Electric vehicle, with the engine model year in which the Eligible Medium Trucks Mitigation Action occurs or one engine model year prior.

•Action 10 – Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA)

•DERA provides funding for projects that reduce emissions from existing diesel engines. Authorized under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and administered by U.S. EPA, DERA is designed to help replace or retrofit older, dirtier engines still in use with clean diesel or alternative fuel engines, reducing exposure to diesel exhaust and improving human health and the environment.

The complete list of mitigation actions is available in Appendix D-2 of the Environmental Mitigation Trust Agreement.

Mitigation Actions Proposals
To submit a mitigation action proposal, complete the VW Mitigation Trust – Mitigation Action Proposal form and send it to vwmititrust@jca.pr.gov.
Follow this link to view the list of mitigation actions proposals.

 Frequently Asked Questions

VW Mitigation Trust and Puerto Rico

•What is the Puerto Rico Mitigation Plan?

•This Plan is intended to provide the public a general vision for use of the mitigation funds and information about potential specific uses for which funding is expected to be requested. This Plan does not create any binding or rights in any person to claim an entitlement of any kind. The Plan will be updated as deem necessary.

•Where I could submit comments to the Mitigation Plan?

•Comments should be sent to vwmititrust@jca.pr.gov.

•How much time Puerto Rico has to spend Trust funds?

Money must be spent in 10 years from the Trust effective date.  Additional 5 years could be requested if necesary.

•How much funds are available for Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico allocation under the settlement is $8.125 million.

•What kind of project are eligible for funding?

The settlement identify 10 eligible mitigation actions. The complete list of mitigation actions is available in Appendix D-2 of the Environmental Mitigation Trust Agreement.

1.Class 8 Local Freight Trucks and Port Drayage Trucks

2.Class 4-8 School Bus, Shuttle Bus or Transit Bus

3.Freight Switchers

4.Ferries or Tugs

5.Ocean Going Vessels

6.Class 4-7 Local Freight Trucks

7.Airport Ground Support Equipment

8.Forklifts and Port Cargo Handling Equipment

9.Light Duty Zero Emissions vehicle supply equipment

10.Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) option under EPA grant

•How can I submit a project proposal?

To submit a project for consideration, complete the VW Mitigation Trust – Mitigation Action Proposal form and send it to vwmititrust@jca.pr.gov.