Department of Natural Resources awards $6.8 million from Volkswagen Trust

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is disbursing $6.8 million from the Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Environmental Mitigation Trust to qualifying entities across Missouri. The funds will reduce pollution by helping to cover the replacement costs of 150 heavy-duty diesel vehicles.

The 150 vehicles being replaced using Volkswagen Trust funds include:

69 school buses totaling $3.2 million

30 government trucks totaling $1.33 million

49 nongovernment trucks totaling $1.54 million

One marine project totaling $580,000

One cargo project for $128,000

“Replacing these vehicles is expected to reduce more than 1,200 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions over the lifetime of the replaced vehicles, making the air cleaner and healthier for all of our residents,” said Carol Comer, director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

The department accepted applications for the replacement of school buses and the repowering or replacement of transit and shuttle buses, government and nongovernment-owned commercial trucks, locomotive and marine projects, and airport and cargo equipment using Volkswagen Trust funds. The application period, which ended May 31, 2020, was extended from the orignal March 31 deadline due to COVID-19.

The department offered awards to applicants who own diesel-powered vehicles or engines with 1992-2009 engine model year to replace those vehicles with new diesel, alternative-fueled, or electric vehicles or engines. Government applicants are eligible to receive up to 75 percent of a new engine’s cost, or 50 percent a new vehicle’s value.

Nongovernment applicants are eligible for up to 40 percent of a new engine’s cost or 25 percent of a new vehicle. Similarly, owners of school buses are eligible to receive cost shares ranging from 20 percent up to 80 percent of a new school bus’s cost, based on project specifics.

Awarded applicants must permanently remove the old vehicle or engine from service, which reduces harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions produced by older diesel engines.

In 2019, the department funded 199 projects totaling over $7 million. Of those projects, 150 were school buses. Additionally, two diesel-powered school buses are being replaced with electric buses in 2020.

In 2016, the United States filed and settled complaints against Volkswagen entities alleging violations of the Clean Air Act. Volkswagen allegedly sold approximately 590,000 diesel vehicles with 2.0- and 3.0-liter diesel engines in the United States containing specific computer algorithms and calibrations that caused the emissions control system of those vehicles to perform differently during emissions testing. During normal vehicle use, the cars emitted levels of NOx significantly above the EPA compliant levels. All states, including Missouri, elected to become beneficiaries of the Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Environmental Mitigation Trust. Missouri received more than $41 million for Missouri-specific projects to reduce NOx from heavy-duty diesel sources.

For more information on the Volkswagen Trust, please visit dnr.mo.gov/env/apcp/vw/index.html.

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