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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: May 3, 2017 12:58 PM
From: Senator Camera Bartolotta
To: All Senate members
Subject: Ensuring Equitable Distribution of Pennsylvania’s Environmental Mitigation Funds
In the near future, I will introduce legislation which will shape Pennsylvania’s energy portfolio and provide for cleaner air in the Commonwealth.

In 2015, the German automaker, Volkswagen, was found to have installed software on its diesel-powered vehicles that provided false emissions data far lower than the emissions their vehicles were actually producing. Since getting caught, Volkswagen has agreed to pay fines of $16 billion to settle claims for cheating. These fines will be paid to the federal government in an Environmental Mitigation Trust and allocated to the various states pursuant to a settlement agreement.

As part of the emissions scandal, Pennsylvania is set to receive $110 million from this settlement. The funds must be used to promote reductions of NOx emissions in the medium and heavy-duty vehicle sectors to mitigate the air quality damage caused by Volkswagen’s non-compliant light-duty diesel vehicles. This is an opportunity for the Commonwealth to use this major mistake to shape our energy future and provide for cleaner burning vehicles across the state.

My legislation is simple: It is designed to ensure the equitable distribution of these funds. Specifically, my legislation will ensure the plan developed by Pennsylvania for the use of these funds is centered around the principle of achieving the greatest environmental benefits for each dollar expended. It will do so by requiring:
  1. The majority of funds be used to deploy vehicles that are certified to one of California Air Resources Board’s optional low-NOx standards– the strongest environmental vehicle emission standards in the country;
  2. Any vehicle grant funding for a non-government fleet vehicle shall provide for 25% of the total vehicle cost, up to $50,000 per vehicle;
  3. No more than 20% of the funds may be dedicated to government fleets;
  4. To the extent funds are made available to government fleets, mass transit, para transit, and waste disposal fleets will be considered priority use; and
  5. The funding must be prioritized in a manner which leverages private matching funds or investment.
In the months ahead, Pennsylvania will be working towards finalizing a draft plan for the deployment of these funds. I hope you will join me to cosponsor this legislation to ensure our state is deploying the funds in a manner which provides the greatest environmental benefit to our citizens.

Introduced as SB722