Over the last few years, attorneys in the White Collar & Commercial Enforcement and Environment Divisions of the AG’s Office have worked diligently on settlement negotiations for damage done by Volkswagen. From 2009 to 2015, VW sold more than 570,000 diesel vehicles in the United States equipped with a device that would allow them to circumvent emission standards testing. Volkswagen made false statements to consumers in their marketing, advertising these vehicles as “green” vehicles, knowing full well the vehicles emitted harmful nitrogen oxides at rates many times high than the current law permitted.
Our work had two goals.
1) Protection of the consumer from harmful business practices and fraud;
2) Restitution for the effect the cars had on the local environment.
Two years ago, Assistant Attorney General and Section Director Tom Melton reached a settlement on behalf of the Division of Consumer Protection that totaled $7.5 million in funds to Utah. Those funds went to pay for environmentally safe school buses across the state. In addition, VW owners were justly compensated during the restitution and recall program here in Utah. Owners were part of a buy-back program as well as recipients of a restitution payment of at least $5,100. You can read the original press release here, and the KSL story.
This week, Governor Herbert announced the receipt of an additional $35 million on behalf of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality – Air Quality Division. Assistant Attorney General Connie Nakahara and Division Director Craig Anderson, of the Environment Division, worked hard to satisfy the requirements of the mitigation trust in order for Utah to be eligible for those funds. We are proud of all that they did in work and negotiations to reach a tremendous outcome.
Congratulations to the agencies, administration, and assistant attorneys general for the great partnership and hard work that paid off for the State of Utah and its citizens.
Trib: Because VW tried to dodge pollution laws, Utah will get $35M to spend on low-emission vehicles
DesNews: Herbert approves spending plan for the VW settlement money
KUER: VW Emissions-Cheating Settlement Pays For Utah Air Quality Projects
For more information about the settlement funds, please visit the Utah DEQ’s Volkswagen pages, below.