The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) simply launched a Draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan for the Volkswagen Settlement funds that goals to cut back emissions of NOx, particulate matter, and dangerous air pollution. But the draft plan lacks particulars and leaves room for the cash to be spent on polluting fossil gasoline-powered buses as a substitute of cleaner, more healthy electric transit and college buses. Comments must be submitted to Florida DEP at VWMitigation@FloridaDEP.gov by 5:00 PM EST, Friday, August 16, 2019.

Dory Larsen | July 25, 2019 | Clean Transportation, Electric Vehicles, Florida

In July 2016, Volkswagen (VW) agreed to a a number of-half settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency because of the unlawful set up of ‘defeat devices’ on their diesel engines in violation of the Clean Air Act. One key program of that settlement is a $2.7 billion greenback Environmental Mitigation Trust Agreement (EMT) that gives emissions discount alternatives for states. The EMT is designed to cut back nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions the place dishonest VW diesel automobiles operated, and funds are allotted amongst beneficiaries (states) based mostly on the variety of impacted VW automobiles of their jurisdiction. Under the EMT, every state was eligible to develop into a beneficiary and designate a lead company to arrange and undergo the Trustee (Volkswagen through Wilmington Trust) a Mitigation Plan earlier than funds might be distributed to the state. 

On July 17, 2019, Florida grew to become the final state within the nation to launch their Draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan by the designated lead company, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The plan’s main said objective is to cut back emissions of NOx, particulate matter, and dangerous air pollution, and outlined three priorities to realize this objective:

    1. Prioritizing tasks that change eligible models with electric-powered and/or different fueled models;
    2. Identifying the areas in Florida the place the most important variety of individuals are impacted by increased ranges of emissions from diesel-powered automobiles and gear; and
    3. Identifying mitigation tasks that obtain the bottom value per ton of pollution diminished.

The DEP additionally laid out which eligible classes they’d allocate the $166 million funds to. The majority of the spending (70%) has been earmarked for transitioning our transit, faculty and shuttle buses, adopted by funding the conversion of previous diesel gear beneath the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA). The plan additionally carves out the utmost quantity allowed (15%) for electric car charging station infrastructure.

Eligible Mitigation Actions and Estimated Percentage Breakdown For Project Specific Funding

pg. 3 Draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan

What is just not clear within the plan is how DEP will prioritize spending for the bus and charging station infrastructure parts. The draft plan is fuzzy, missing particulars and leaves room for the cash to be spent on polluting fossil gasoline-powered buses. We want to make sure that the cash is spent on cleaner, more healthy electric transit and college buses and NOT on buses powered by fossil fuels. We due to this fact suggest that DEP add the next particulars on how the bus project prioritization will happen:

  • Include language stating that electric tasks can be given precedence, or arrange a plan that can fund electric bus alternative tasks first. 
  • Clarify that electric bus charging infrastructure is eligible for funding within the bus class.
  • Explicitly state that no funds will go towards the acquisition of diesel or diesel-hybrid buses.

Additionally, there’s ambiguity within the plan concerning “the lowest cost per ton of pollutants reduced” referred to in precedence quantity 3. In actuality, electric buses are cheaper to run and maintain, saving over $300,000 over the lifetime they’re in service for transit buses and $50,000 over the lifetime they’re in service for faculty buses. Figure 13 within the draft plan doesn’t deal with the overall value to personal — solely the procurement value. This skews the emissions profit/value ratio to make diesel appear a less expensive choice (when, in actual fact, it isn’t). Diesel buses additionally don’t scale back emissions as considerably as electric buses. Unit value of the buses ought to consider lifetime prices of the automobiles. Additionally, a correction to the price of electric buses must happen (i.e. the price is listed at $900,000 and needs to be $700,000), and that value is way nearer to parity because the electric bus batteries can now be leased.  

The plan can be missing particulars on how the funds can be spent on electric car charging station infrastructure. There isn’t any breakdown of prioritization for Level 1, Level 2 or DC quick charging. Governor DeSantis simply weighed in on the problem by announcing a plan to significantly expand Florida’s electric vehicle infrastructure by means of growing the variety of charging stations alongside main thoroughfares all through the state. This is encouraging and factors to the path DEP could also be going, however with out it clearly outlined within the plan, there’s confusion. 

This plan has the potential to ascertain Florida as a agency chief of electric transportation within the Southeast. However, the main points will decide to what extent the cash is used to show VW’s air pollution catastrophe into an immense alternative to wash up our air and propel us right into a future that considerably reduces air pollution from transportation. 

Tell the Florida DEP that Floridians are all-in on electric transportation! Encourage the DEP to make clear the draft plan and to incorporate particulars that guarantee the cash can be spent on electrification and never soiled fossil-fueled buses. The deadline to e-mail feedback to Florida DEP at VWMitigation@FloridaDEP.gov is 5:00 PM EST, Friday, August 16, 2019.

Stay tuned for extra tales about driving electric on our weblog, and you’ll want to be a part of our Electrify the South newsletter checklist for the most recent information on EV technology and coverage!

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