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State could use VW diesel settlement to boost electric vehicles

A state agency wants to take some $113 million Washington will receive from Volkswagen for dirty diesel engines and use it to boost the use of vehicles that pollute less.

The Department of Ecology is asking for public comment on a proposal released this week on spending money Washington will receive from a nationwide settlement with Volkswagen for putting illegal software in some of its diesel vehicles that reported lower emissions than the vehicle actually had.

Washington had approximately 24,000 of those vehicles, and got $112.7 million as part of the $14.7 billion settlement the auto manufacturer reached with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California.

The department wants to use Washington’s share of the settlement to install more electric vehicle charging stations in the state and replace diesel engines on buses and other public vehicles.

“By cheating emissions tests, Volkswagen exposed Washingtonians to more pollution and threatened their health. Using this settlement to right those wrongs and protect our communities in the future is the best investment we can make,” Maia Bellon, director of the department, said in a press release announcing the plan.

The public can see the proposed plan and offer feedback through links on the department’s website, www.ecy.wa.gov, before 9 a.m. on December 19.


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