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Volkswagen Agrees To Environmental Penalty With The State Of New Hampshire

Benedict Benedict
Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Volkswagen and a group of related companies agreed to a $1.15 million environmental penalty to resolve the last legal case open with the State of New Hampshire regarding the software the companies used to help some diesel vehicles cheat on emissions tests, the state’s Attorney General announced Monday, September 27.

In addition to the financial penalty, the companies agreed to build another direct current fast-charging station in the state, among the five other electric vehicle charging stations that are already installed or planned.

In 2015, Volkswagen admitted that some of its vehicles contained “defeat devices,” software designed to make an engine function differently when undergoing emissions testing than it would during real-world driving conditions. The Environmental Protection Agency said some vehicles putup to 40 times more pollution into the air than U.S. standards allow.

The settlement makes New Hampshire the first state that has not adopted California’s air emissions standards to receive money for this kind of defeat device claim against a manufacturer, said Allen Brooks, the state’s senior assistant Attorney General.

New Hampshire sought penalties for tampering with an emissions control device, instead of for violating air emissions standards, Brooks said. Tampering with emissions control devices on vehicles is prohibited by the New Hampshire Air Pollution Control Act.

After the Department of Justice filed a complaint against Volkswagen and related companies for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act in 2016, the companiesagreed to spend up to $14.7 billion to settle the allegations.

Volkswagen has already paid about $204 million to New Hampshire through the environmental trust fund, civil penalties, and relief for vehicle owners and dealers, according to the Attorney General’s office.

Mara Hoplamazian reports on climate change, energy, and the environment for NHPR.

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