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 Nitrogen Oxides (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 Puerto Rico is $8.125 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 Department of Natural and Environmental Resources was identified as Lead Agency.
Health Effect NOx
According to EPA technical bulletin for 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.
Questions or comments related to VW Mitigation Trust contact VWMitiTrust@jca.pr.gov.