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March 30, 2017

Pennsylvania, Volkswagen reach $30.4 million pollution settlement

German automaker Volkswagen will pay the state of Pennsylvania $30.4 million as part of a multi-state settlement for environmental damages caused by a device the company placed on its cars, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Thursday.

The 10-state, $157 million settlement revolves around Volkswagen's installation of "defeat devices" that violated state and federal law by impairing emission control systems in 600,000 small diesel vehicles. By manipulating diesel engine emissions readings, the company was able to deceive inspectors while producing up to 40 times the permitted level of exhaust, the class action lawsuit claimed.

Volkswagen pleaded guilty to the allegations earlier this month.

“I’m fighting to ensure a healthy environment for Pennsylvanians and protect their right to clean air and pure water,” Shapiro said. “In this settlement, our prosecutors have addressed the serious harms caused by Volkswagen’s emissions device and its conscious cheating that resulted in excessive, illegal amounts of pollutants fouling the air across our Commonwealth.”

In addition to the $30.4 million for environmental damages and vehicle claims, Pennsylvania will also receive $23.1 million in civil penalties and costs to the state as part of an earlier consumer protection settlement.

Under the settlement, Volkswagen must commit to comply with restitution and buy back provisions, increase the availability of Zero Emissions vehicles in Pennsylvania and other states, and raise its contributions to a mitigation trust fund for various environmental programs.

Pennsylvania is permitted to use the $30.4 million broadly for any environmentally beneficial purpose.

Consumers who purchased or leased diesel vehicles manufactured by VW, Audi, or Porsche can submit claims to have their vehicles bought back or fixed by visiting this page overseen by the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission and a Plaintiffs' Steering Committee.