Connecticut Joins Multistate Settlement Resolving
Environmental Claims against Volkswagen for Emissions Fraud
Connecticut will receive $14,846,465 through a multistate settlement with auto-maker Volkswagen that resolves state claims that the company violated environmental laws when it equipped certain diesel vehicles with illegal and undisclosed emissions defeat devices designed to circumvent emissions standards, Attorney General George Jepsen said today.
The settlement, which requires court approval to become effective, includes a total of $157,480,480 for the ten participating "Section 177" states, which are states that have adopted California's stringent emission standards under section 177 of the federal Clean Air Act. The states asserted claims that the company's conduct violated state and federal laws regulating nitrogen oxide (NOx) emission limits, diagnostic system requirements and emission control requirements and laws prohibiting the installation of equipment that conceals an air pollutant and causes air pollution.
"Volkswagen lied to consumers and to regulators by stating that its vehicles were not only fuel efficient but also clean, when in reality they were neither," said Attorney General Jepsen. "This settlement resolves claims that Volkswagen violated Connecticut's environmental protection laws that govern air pollution and conduct related to emission controls when it sold vehicles that it knew were equipped with devices designed to circumvent emission tests."
"Today's action and historic $14.8 million penalty sends a very clear message to all vehicle manufacturers," said state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Rob Klee, "you must meet our state environmental standards and if you deliberately deceive regulators and cheat the public, you will be caught and you will be held accountable."
Nearly all of Connecticut's share of the settlement funds will go to the state's General Fund. A yet-to-be determined portion may be set aside for an environmentally beneficial purpose consistent with the settlement.
The attorneys generals' investigation confirmed that Volkswagen sold more than 570,000 2.0 and 3.0-liter diesel vehicles in the United States – including 11,911 vehicles in Connecticut – that were equipped with defeat device software intended to circumvent applicable emissions standards for certain air pollutants and that Volkswagen actively concealed the existence of the defeat devices from regulators and the public. Volkswagen made false statements to consumers in their marketing and advertising, misrepresenting the cars as environmentally friendly or "green" when, in fact, the company knew that the vehicles emitted harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) at rates significantly higher than permitted by law.
Separate settlements – negotiated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice; the Federal Trade Commission; the state of California and the California Air Resources Board (CARB); and car owners in private class action lawsuits – provided for cash payments to affected consumers and require Volkswagen to buy back or modify certain Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles. Consumers with questions, or those looking for additional information about the Volkswagen settlements, can visit VWCourtSettlement.com
In addition to Connecticut, other states participating in today's settlement include Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
Assistant Attorneys General Scott Koschwitz, Brendan Flynn and Matthew Levine, head of the Environment Department, and former Assistant Attorney General Kirsten Rigney assisted the Attorney General with this matter.
Jaclyn M. Falkowski