How Tennessee plans to spend $45.8 million from VW settlement
Tennessee environmental officials released a plan that outlines how the state will spend $45.8 million from the Volkswagen diesel settlement.
The plan targets emissions from school buses, city buses, freight trucks and some other vehicles. Also, it invests in electric vehicle charging stations.
Diesel engines emit relatively large amounts of nitrogen oxides, which contribute to smog, and fine particulate matter harmful to human health. By expanding the electric vehicle charging network, the state also hopes to spur growth in the auto manufacturing industry.
The Volkswagen funding in Tennessee will be available for replacing older diesel engines with alternate fuel engines running on natural gas, propane, electricity, or diesel-electric hybrid. Also, recipients could replace older diesel vehicles and equipment.
“The goal of this plan is to reduce air pollutants that negatively impact our environment and public health,” Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Shari Meghreblian said in a statement. “We look forward to supporting projects in our state that will ultimately lead to an enhanced quality of life for Tennesseans.”
In 2016 the state attorney general's office announced the settlement with Volkswagen after a multistate investigation into VW's use of technology that cheated on diesel vehicle emissions tests. Tennessee's settlement was part of a larger, $14.7 billion national settlement with the company.
Governments and private entities will be eligible for Tennessee settlement funds. The state will prioritize projects in economically distressed counties and those areas with a disproportionate share of air pollution.
TDEC expects to make the first projects available for bidding late this month or in early October.
Source: The Tennessean, by Mike Reicher
The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit www.eteda.org
Published September 27, 2018