Frequently Asked Questions
Volkswagen Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust – State of Hawaii
These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) pertain only to Hawaii’s participation as a Beneficiary of the Environmental Mitigation Trust. For general information about the Volkswagen (VW) Settlement please visit our Additional Resources page.
What is the Environmental Mitigation Trust?
The Environmental Mitigation Trust Per is one segment of the larger VW Settlement intended to mitigate the environmental damage caused by emissions from the non-compliant VW vehicles. The Settlement requires VW to invest $2.925 billion in an Environmental Mitigation Trust to fund projects (Eligible Mitigation Actions) to reduce diesel emissions primarily from large and medium vehicles. The Eligible Mitigation Actions will be proposed and administered by the Beneficiaries subject to the requirements of the Settlement and Trust Agreement. The goal of each Eligible Mitigation Action shall be to achieve reductions of nitrous oxides (NOx) emissions in the United States from the transportation sector and collectively mitigate the total, lifetime excess emissions, mainly NOx, generated by the non-compliant VW vehicles while on the road. NOx is the major excess pollutant from these vehicles and is a significant health concern.
Who are beneficiaries of the Environmental Mitigation Trust?
All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and federally recognized Indian tribes are eligible to become beneficiaries of the Trust and will be responsible for administering their respective Trust allocations, which are based upon the number of non-compliant vehicles sold in that jurisdiction.
How much money is available to Hawaii?
As an eligible beneficiary under the Environmental Mitigation Trust, the State of Hawaii has been allocated $8,125,000.
The allocations of each eligible beneficiary are determined by the number of non-compliant model year 2009-2016 VW vehicles sold in the beneficiary’s jurisdiction. Hawaii, along with a handful of smaller states, received the minimum allocation of $8.125 million from the VW settlement. Additional funds could be added to Hawaii’s allocation in the event not all eligible beneficiaries qualify to receive their allocation and/or if beneficiaries fail to expend their entire allocations within 10 years as provided by the Trust.
When will funds be available?
Hawaii can submit funding requests 30 days after the Plan has been approved by the Trustee.
What is the project schedule for implementation of the plan?
Per the settlement, beneficiaries may submit requests for Eligible Mitigation Action funding any time 30 days after Trustee approval of the Beneficiary Mitigation Plan by filing a Beneficiary Eligible Mitigation Action Certification form (Appendix D-4) with the Trustee. Within 60 days after receipt of each Appendix D-4 funding request, the Trustee shall (i) approve; (ii) deny; (iii) request modifications; or (iv) request further information of any funding request that meets the requirements of the State Trust Agreement and its appendices.
How long does Hawaii have to access and spend allocated trust funds?
Hawaii will have until October 3, 2027, to spend its allocation of the Trust and implement mitigation actions.
How can the public provide comments or questions?
Members of the public and other stakeholders may submit comments or questions to HSEO at any time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Public input was considered in the final Beneficiary Mitigation Plan submitted to the Trustee.
What kind of public comments have been received?
HSEO gathered public comment in February 2018, on a range of eligible mitigation actions outlined in the settlement between Volkswagen and the federal government. Commenters offered their perspectives on the eligible actions through a questionnaire posted on the HSEO website.
A total of 149 questionnaire responses were received from Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Island, Kauai, and the U.S. mainland. Respondents were asked to list the top three categories of eligible mitigation actions Hawaii should consider for the VW trust funding. The highest-ranking category was buses (school, shuttle or transit), which was supported by 89 percent of respondents. The category of local freight trucks and port drayage trucks was supported by 66 percent of respondents, and the category of light duty zero emissions vehicle charging equipment was supported by 57 percent of respondents.
Will DBEDT provide updates for Hawaii’s engagement?
During Plan implementation, HSEO will monitor Trust funds and each funding request will be made available on HSEO’s VW settlement webpage. The funding requests will be posted chronologically by the date they were submitted to the Trustee.
DBEDT will maintain the webpage for the duration of the Trust exclusively for its Trust activities: energy.hawaii.gov, under the Testbeds & Initiatives – Hawaii VW Environmental Mitigation Trust webpage, https://energy.hawaii.gov/vw . Hawaii’s engagement will also be tracked on https://www.vwenvironmentalmitigationtrust.com/
Does HSEO plan to solicit proposals for the VW settlement funds?
While HSEO is not requesting project proposals at this time, comments or input can be submitted at any time by emailing email@example.com.
How can I be added to the mailing list for funding opportunities and updates regarding the VW Settlement?
If you would like to be added to the HSEO VW Settlement mailing list please submit your contact information here https://energy.hawaii.gov/vw-settlement-mailing-list.