2 GOP Lawmakers Question Dieselgate Settlement Terms
There are so many conspiracy theories running around these days that it can set heads spinning. This side suspects one thing and speaks its piece; its supporters jump up and down and say yes-yes. Then, that side answers and speaks its piece and its supporters jump up and down and say yes-yes.
If you are wondering what we’re talking about, it is the impending election next Tuesday. And, for whatever reason, the silliness seems to be spreading into areas where, perhaps, it shouldn’t be. In this case, it’s the Volkswagen Dieselgate class-action settlement suit.
Major Agreement Provisions
One of the major provisions of the agreement was Volkswagen’s commitment to spend up to $4.7 billion to mitigate some of the damage done by its years of diesel cheating. The automaker agreed to pay about $2.7 billion to fund things like replacement of aging diesel buses in Native American nations, as well as other, similar, infrastructure items.
VW also agreed to spend an additional $2.0 billion fund improvements to zero emissions vehicle infrastructure. It is this funding that is causing issues. Late in September, Charge Point, which claims to be the world’s largest electric car charging network with 30,000 stations asked the Justice Department to waylay and reopen the $14.6 Dieselgate class-action lawsuit settlement that took months of tough negotiations to reach. Charge Point was apparently trying to insert itself into a favored position in the administration of the VW funding while easing the automaker out. Its ostensible argument was that if VW was allowed to spend its money, it would be the competitor to beat and would likely put them out of business. Justice turned them down. Charge Point Tries To Derail Dieselgate Suit Settlement
Undeterred, Charge Point, two weeks later, tried an end run around VW from the court side when it filed papers asking for VW to be disqualified from competition because of its size that the threat that Charge Point perceived to its survival. The court said no to that one, too, by not acting.
Now, a pair of senior Republican lawmakers who call the $2 billion zero-emission vehicle fund “a curious outcome for the settlement of a cheating scandal,” have sought answers from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the settlement. The duo charge, in one of a pair of combative letters to Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator, that the agreement is structured so that VW may be able “obtain substantial competitive benefits, if not a monopoly” on the growing electric vehicle (EV) charging market.
In language vaguely reminiscent of the Charge Point filing, Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Tim Murphy, R-Pa., charge the funds seem to have “limited” federal oversight. The pair claimed that this would give VW an unfair advantage in the market. VW has ambitious plans to launch 30 electric models by 2025.
Second Strong Letter
The pair also dispatched a second letter on the $2.7 billion fund that VW was required to establish to help mitigate the environmental effects of 482,000 diesel vehicles that spent years emitting levels of nitrogen oxide that were too high due to rigged emissions software. The pair’s second guided missive asks the federal agency to tell them how it was determined that $2.7 billion was the right amount to fund various projects.
An EPA spokesman said they would review letters and respond, Automotive News said Tuesday.