RALEIGH – The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is holding five stakeholder information sessions, including one in Wilmington, to discuss the proposed plan to use the state’s share of a national settlement with Volkswagen.
Members of the public and entities interested in receiving funds for eligible projects are encouraged to attend.
The Draft State Mitigation Plan outlines a proposal to invest the first phase of $92 million in projects aimed at reducing pollution impacts from diesel emissions. DEQ will take comment on the draft plan through May 3. The funds represent North Carolina’s share of a $2.9 billion federal settlement with Volkswagen for manipulating diesel emission controls in some of its vehicles.
The meeting in Wilmington is from 9-11 a.m. Friday, April 20, at Cape Fear Community College, Union Station, Room 512, 502 N. Front St.
“This settlement provides a great way to invest in cleaner transportation paid for by the wrongdoers,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement. “Clean fuel school buses and zero emission vehicle charging stations are two great examples of efforts that could make a real difference in air quality.”
Cooper designated DEQ as the lead agency to manage the project in November 2017, and the court-appointed trustee for the settlement officially designated North Carolina as a state beneficiary in January.
In November, DEQ requested information from the public that resulted in 872 comments, including project ideas totaling more than $409 million. Most comments addressed alternative fuels, electrification infrastructure and electric vehicles, eligible equipment and environmental justice and health effects.
DEQ used public feedback to develop the Draft State Mitigation Plan and the plan will be further refined based on public comment. The final plan is to be submitted to the trustee this summer, with a request for proposals to follow in the fall.
Other meetings scheduled are the following:
- 7-9 p.m. Monday, March 26: Land-of-Sky Regional Council, 339 New Leicester Highway., Suite 140, Asheville.
- 3-5 p.m. Tuesday, March 27: Kannapolis Train Station, Multipurpose Room, 201 S. Main St., Kannapolis.
- 5-7 p.m. Monday, April 16: Lenoir Community College, Bullock Building, Room 150, Kinston.
- 1-3 p.m. Tuesday, April 17: Triangle J Council of Governments, 4307 Emperor Blvd., Suite 110, Durham.