Oregon Gets Lemonade From VW’s lemons
VW settlement to help Oregon fund cleaner diesel vehicles
Oregon consumers who drive Volkswagens may be the first to applaud the $85 million settlement with the company announced today, but all Oregonians have a reason to cheer. Oregon now has $68 million to jump-start a clean air effort that can reap huge benefits for the health of every Oregonian, including our most vulnerable communities: cleaning up one of our major sources of air pollution: our oldest, dirtiest heavy-duty diesel trucks and buses.
Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Governor Kate Brown showed a bold and decisive commitment to Oregonian values. They put muscle behind a multi-state investigation into Volkswagen’s fraud and violation of emissions standards. Their hard work will now pay off with a $68 million settlement dedicated to cleaning up dirty diesel engines, a benefit to our health and our climate.
Money has always been the single greatest barrier to addressing one of Oregon’s worst toxic air hazards, which raises the risk of cancer in areas where 90% of Oregonians reside. New diesel engines can run 95% cleaner than old ones, virtually eliminating cancer risk and drastically reducing the soot that causes heart and lung damage. In fact, every dollar invested in cleaner engines has the potential to deliver $17 in health benefits.
But because old engines have a long life, we face decades more of elevated health risks unless we can invest in new engines. Governor Brown, by directing funding to diesel clean-up, has the opportunity to support Oregon’s businesses in making the transition.
This new source of robust public funding to clean up older diesel engines is a jump-start that also points clearly to a path forward. Now we need is to establish stronger standards for all diesel engines, requiring companies to take advantage of the new clean diesel financial incentives. With strong standards in place, we will protect health well into the future. OEC and our partners look forward to working with legislators and the Governor’s office to further protect the health and well being of Oregonians during the 2017 legislative session and beyond.