The California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced that it filed a consent decree for its final settlement with the Volkswagen Group of America (VW). The company will be required to pay an additional $153.8 million to California over the company’s use of illegal “defeat devices” in 2009–2016, 2.0 and 3.0 liter diesel passenger cars. Before today, VW had paid $533 million to California, of which $422 million will flow to the state through a mitigation trust. The additional consent decree was negotiated by attorneys and technical experts from CARB and the California Attorney General’s Office, and is subject to court approval. The overall VW settlement is the largest ever for violations of vehicle air quality rules.
“This payment to the State of California closes another chapter in the so-called ‘dieselgate’ case against Volkswagen, but it is not the end of the story,” said CARB Chair Mary Nichols. “There are still consumers waiting to find out the future of their cars. CARB is working with U.S. EPA to determine if the remaining vehicles can be modified.”
The $153.8 million dollars represents penalties for air quality violations and the costs of CARB’s investigation. This Consent Decree is in addition to more than $422 million dollars VW must pay into a national trust to mitigate environmental harm in California.
In California, VW’s cheating was particularly harmful because California’s air quality is worse than anywhere else in the nation. Ten million Californians live within the nation’s only severe nonattainment areas for ozone pollution, and 12 million live in areas with nation-leading levels of fine particle pollution. These pollutants cause lung disease, heart disease, and premature death, especially among our most vulnerable populations. To put California on track to ensure healthy air for all, California has adopted the most stringent air quality regulatory and enforcement program in the US.
The Consent Decree is available here.