For Immediate Release: February 20, 2018
HONOLULU — The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) is seeking public input as it develops a non-binding plan to spend up to $8.125 million from a settlement with German automaker Volkswagen to promote the reduction of vehicle emissions in Hawaii.
The funds represent Hawaii’s share of a $2.925 billion Environmental Mitigation Trust established as part of two Partial Consent Decrees between the federal government and Volkswagen (VW) to settle allegations that the automaker cheated emissions tests and deceived customers. DBEDT is the lead agency for purposes of the state’s participation in the Trust.
The Hawaii State Energy Office (HSEO), a division of DBEDT, has developed a questionnaire to solicit and consider public input as it develops the state’s mitigation plan. The eligible actions as outlined in Appendix D-2 of the settlement focus on activities that support nitrogen oxide emission reductions. Public input, which eligible action items should be pursued will be considered and incorporated into the plan as practicable. The public comment period runs through March 20. The questionnaire, along with information about the VW settlement may be found at: Volkswagen Settlement – Hawai‘i State Energy Office (hawaii.gov).
The Environmental Mitigation Trust fund is being distributed among states, territories and federally recognized Indian Tribes based on the proportion of affected VW diesel vehicles in each jurisdiction. The settlement requires Trust funds to be used for projects that replace or retrofit medium- and heavy-duty vehicles or equipment with cleaner options. Additionally, up to 15 percent of the funds allocated to Hawaii can be used to install electric vehicle charging stations throughout the state.
The Environmental Mitigation Trust is part of a larger Volkswagen settlement intended to mitigate the environmental damage caused by emissions from the non-compliant Volkswagen vehicles. In addition to the Trust, Volkswagen will pay billions of dollars in civil penalties and customer buyback and modification programs. Volkswagen also must invest $2 billion over the next 10 years in zero emission vehicle infrastructure and education projects across the United State through its Electrify America subsidiary, possibly including Hawaii.
ABOUT HAWAII STATE ENERGY OFFICE
The Hawaii State Energy Office (HSEO) is a division of the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. With the state’s goal to reach 100 percent renewable energy generation by 2045, HSEO is leading the state’s charge toward clean energy independence. HSEO is committed to developing and deploying high impact solutions that will maximize Hawaii’s renewable energy resources and improve efficiency and transportation standards. Through effective policies and innovative programs, HSEO has positioned Hawaii port as a leader in clean energy innovation, which will generate quality jobs, attract investment opportunities and accelerate economic growth.
For more information, visit energy.hawaii.gov
Alan Yonan Jr.
DBEDT State Energy Office