Comment Period Open on Proposed VW Consent Decree

July 6, 2016 – The Department of Justice published in the Federal Register (81 Fed. Reg. 44,051) a Notice of Lodging of Partial Consent Decree Under the Clean Air Act related to the proposed settlements with Volkswagen (VW) announced on June 28, 2016 (see related article in the June 27-July 1, 2016 Washington Update) to address the company's illegal use of emission control "defeat devices" on nearly 500,000 2.0-liter diesel vehicles of Model Years 2009 through 2015.  This publication opens a 30-day comment period on the partial consent decree.  In addition to the federal government and California considering public comments, the partial consent decree is subject to the approval of Judge Charles Breyer of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.  Under the proposed settlements, VW agrees to pay nearly $15 billion—$10.033 billion to compensate consumers; $2.7 billion for a Mitigation Trust Fund to be allocated among every state in the nation (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) as well as tribes to undertake pollution reduction projects; and $2 billion for the auto maker to support increased use of technology for Zero Emission Vehicles.  The proposed settlements apply only to affected 2.0-liter vehicles; action on 3.0-liter vehicles is still pending.  In addition, the settlements do not address civil claims or criminal liability.