Volkswagen Settlement

Questions may be addressed to the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality at 701.328.5188, or email Keith Hinnenkamp (khinnenk@nd.gov).


On October 25, 2016, a Partial Settlement and Consent Decree was finalized between the US Department of Justice and the Volkswagen Corporation (VW) regarding the installation and use of emissions testing defeat devices in over 500,000 VW vehicles sold and operated in the United States beginning in 2009. These devices violated the federal Clean Air Act and increased air emissions of the pollutant nitrogen oxide (NOx).

An environmental mitigation trust (trust) has been established as part of the consent decree to provide funds to the states to mitigate the negative air quality impacts of the violations. With the addition of the 3.0 liter vehicle settlement funds, North Dakota’s share of the trust will be up to $8.1 million dollars. The trust establishes a process for states to receive the funds and develop environmental mitigation plans. The trust also identifies the mitigation “actions” or projects that will be eligible for funding.

The Governor’s Office has appointed the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (NDDEQ) as the lead agency for the purposes of administrating the Volkswagen Settlement's environmental mitigation trust for the State of North Dakota.

Please Note: NDDEQ is NOTcurrently soliciting project proposals. In order to receive news releases related the Volkswagen Settlement, you may sign up for email notifications: here.

The NDDEQ was accepting applications from September 9, 2019 through October 25, 2019 for project proposals funded with Volkswagen settlement funding. A timeline of events for the first annual round of funding is as follows:

VW Milestones

Milestone

Date

Application Deadline October 25, 2019, 5:00 PM
Application Evaluation Process October-November 2019
NDDEQ Notifies Applicants of Results November-December 2019
Project and Budget Period 2 years following the contract date
End Date 2 years after the contract date

On August 9, 2019, the NDDEQ submitted North Dakota’s environmental mitigation plan to Wilmington Trust (Trustee) for the Volkswagen Settlement. The plan can be viewed here: ND VW Mitigation Plan (Final). The plan incorporated the input received during the prior public comment periods and meetings. As outlined in the settlement, the mitigation plan is non-binding and may be revised as necessary to meet a state’s needs. Revisions to the plan may be accomplished through required public notification and communication with the Trustee.

The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (NDDEQ) was officially established effective April 29, 2019. During the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 2327, separating the Environmental Health Section from the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) to create the NDDEQ. Due to the change, the NDDEQ has submitted a revised Certification for Beneficiary Status form (D–3) and completed the steps needed to be named the beneficiary for North Dakota. The form is posted in the Documents Section below.

The NDDoH held a public comment period to help finalize the mitigation plan. The 45-day comment period began July 17 and ended August 31, 2018.

Comments received during July 17 to August 31, 2018 Public Comment Period

Commenter

Affiliation/Location

Comment

Jay Mosbrucker West Fargo, ND In support of Level 2 and 3 electric charging stations. Suggested removing new diesel as an eligible vehicle type for settlement funds.
Les Alvstad Farmers Union Oil, Fairmount, ND In support of propane engines and making propane more available to the public.
Zachary Kahn BYD America, Bronx, NY In support of broad multi-sector deployments of zero-emission vehicles and equipment.
Kate Teodosio Proterra, Greenville, SC Supports use of funds for project category 2) buses. Specifically, the replacement of school and transit buses with zero-emission/electric buses.
Paul Jensen Citizens Local Energy Action Network, Fargo, ND In support of transportation electrification. Recommended deprioritizing project categories 3) freight switchers, 7) airport ground support, and 8) forklifts. Does not support repowering existing diesel vehicles with new diesel engines. Supports the exclusion of DERA option in mitigation plan. In support of open, free-market allocation process.
Lucas Schaaf McLean Electric Cooperative, Garrison, ND Interest in electric vehicle charging stations. Would like to see older diesel vehicles eligible for replacement.
Paul Matthys Cass County Electric Cooperative, Fargo, ND In support of electric vehicles and Level 2 and 3 electric charging stations.
Britta Gross General Motors, Detroit, MI In support of electric vehicle charging stations. Highway corridor and urban DC-fast charging, workplace charging, multi-unit dwelling charging, and public key destination charging.
Jim Reynolds Adomani, Inc., Corona, CA In support of all-electric vehicle projects. Prioritize electric vehicle replacement projects.
John Bagu West Fargo, ND In support of electric school buses and prioritization of children’s health. Focus projects on areas with highest population/number of vehicles.
Sherri Merrow NGV America, Washington D.C. In support of natural gas vehicles.
Jason Bohrer Lignite Energy Council, Bismarck, ND Supports working with multiple sectors of the economy. Suggested private sector entities would be best suited to implement the projects. Suggested focusing on entities that have expertise in subject areas and the state’s relevant priorities.
Robert Moffitt American Lung Association, St. Paul, MN Supports the use of alternative fuel vehicles. Prioritize proposals that include DC-fast charging stations.
Greg Anderson Ottertail Power Company, Fergus Falls, MN In support of transportation electrification, electric vehicle charging network.
Josh Cohen SemaConnect, Inc., Bowie, Maryland In support of maximum allocation to electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Emily Wier Greenlots, Los Angeles, CA In support of maximum allocation to light-duty electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Josh Schaffner Capital Electric Cooperative, Bismarck, ND In support of maximum allocation to electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
John Schott ChargePoint, Campbell, CA In support of maximum allocation to electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

In addition to the public comment period, public meetings were held in Fargo on July 30, 2018 and in Bismarck on July 31, 2018.

On January 29, 2018, the Trustee for the Volkswagen Settlement (Wilmington Trust) filed a Notice of Beneficiary Designation for North Dakota and all other entities that submitted a Certification for Beneficiary Status form to the Trustee. The Notice of Beneficiary Designation is posted in the Documents Section below.

The NDDoH has submitted the information to the Court and settlement Trustee to officially be named the beneficiary for the State of North Dakota. The Certification for Beneficiary Status form (D-3) signed by the Governor, Attorney General and State Health Officer, was submitted on November 21, 2017. The form is posted in the Documents Section below.

The final version of the state environmental mitigation trust was filed with the Court on October 2, 2017, establishing October 2, 2017 as the Trust Effective Date for the trust. This date is important as it starts the timeline for the actions a beneficiary (state designee) must complete to receive trust funds. The final trust agreement is posted in the Documents Section below.

During the March 1 to March 31, 2017 public comment period, the NDDoH sought public input on drafting North Dakota’s VW settlement environmental mitigation plan. Interested parties were encouraged to provide comments by following the requirements outlined in the partial consent decree. The comment period was not a solicitation for project proposals, but rather an opportunity for the public to provide comments to help guide the development of the mitigation plan.

Comments were received during March 1 to March 31, 2017 public comment period from the following groups or individuals:

Name

Organization

Mike Rud ND Propane Gas Association
Jason Godsil Godsil Car Company
Les Alvstad Farmers Union Oil
Sherrie Merrow NGV America
Brad Redmond West Fargo Schools
Josh Kinard Harlow’s
Barry Warn Cummins
Julie Bommelman City of Fargo
Terry Ludlum City of Fargo
Paul Jensen Fargo C.L.E.A.N
Dr. John Bagu Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry, NDSU
Robert Moffitt ND Clean Cities & American Lung Association
Mindi Schmitz Environmental Law & Policy Center
Darrell Francis Souris Basin Transportation
Kathryn Hilton Morning After Citizens Group
Andrea Holl Pfennig ND Dept. of Commerce



Last Updated: 10/28/2019