In addition to the $1.18 billion that has been secured for the state of California as part of the US government’s landmark $14.7 billion settlement with Volkswagen, an additional $86 million in civil penalties will be paid out to the state as well, according to a recent press release.
According to the announcement from Attorney General Kamala D Harris, the additional $86 million in civil penalties is part of a second partial settlement over Volkswagen’s use of diesel emissions testing “defeat devices” as a means of “passing” relevant tests.
The new agreement (still subject to court approval) represents the biggest recovery of funds from an automaker in breach of state law to date, and apparently resolves “certain aspects of the California Attorney General’s claims against Volkswagen under California’s Unfair Competition Law as well as the Dodd-Frank Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010.”
Notably, the company will also be bound to “significant injunctive terms to deter future misconduct, including a new requirement that Volkswagen contractors and employees report to the California Attorney General’s office any request for or use of defeat devices.”
The press release continues, stating that, “of the $86 million in penalties, the Attorney General will direct $10 million in grants to local government agencies or academic institutions to research and develop technology to detect ‘defeat devices’ and better assess on-road emissions, as well as to monitor, model, and mitigate the environmental and public health impacts of vehicle emissions, especially on children and other vulnerable populations.”
“We must conserve and protect our environment for future generations and deliver swift and certain consequences to those who break the law and pollute our air. Volkswagen tricked consumers seeking to purchase an eco-friendly car by misleading the public about the level of harmful pollutants their so-called ‘clean diesel’ vehicles were emitting,” commented Attorney General Harris. “This additional settlement sends an unequivocal message to Volkswagen and any other automaker that California will aggressively enforce our robust consumer and environmental protection laws.”
Here’s the rundown of the aforementioned injunctive terms:
- Prohibitions on false and deceptive advertising
- Affirmatively disclosing defeat devices in certification applications and other submissions to the California Air Resources Board (CARB)
- Notifying the California Attorney General’s office and CARB of whistleblower and other complaints
- Requiring Volkswagen contractors and employees who are designing engine control units or engine control software to report to the California Attorney General’s office and to CARB any request for or use of defeat devices, and to keep accurate records of software features and changes that could be used as defeat devices
- Provide the California Attorney General’s office with reports of any violations, along with periodic reports regarding its efforts to implement the injunction and effectiveness of those efforts
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