SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois EPA (IEPA) is soliciting public input into its Draft Plan to use the state’s $108 million allocation from the Volkswagen Settlement. The public has been able to provide feedback on the plan since February 28 and will be able to do so until Friday, April 20, 2018.
The IEPA has provided targeted outreach to many groups around the state and has already received nearly 200 formal comments and nearly 100 completed Survey responses to the Draft Plan. In addition, the Agency’s webpage for the Draft Plan has received more than 6,000 pageviews from well over 2,000 unique users.
“We have been having productive conversations with numerous groups around the state and want to provide additional time for comment on a Plan that will positively benefit the health and air quality for millions of Illinoisans,” said Illinois EPA Director Alec Messina.
The Draft Plan details Illinois’ proposal to remove old, dirty diesel engines from service and replace them with new electric, alternate fuel, and cleaner diesel engines. Illinois EPA developed the draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan (BMP) with a goal of achieving the maximum NOx emission reductions possible while recognizing the diversity of potential projects that may be available.
Illinois is a crossroads in the American transportation network and has one of the largest mass transit districts in the country, potentially offering significant reductions to mobile source emissions using the Settlement funds. The money can be can be used over the next 10 years to fund engine replacement projects such as locomotives, tugboats, large and medium trucks, buses, as well as related electric infrastructure that will reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in Illinois.
Illinois EPA’s VW Survey, available on its Volkswagen Settlement webpage, was developed to help inform the Agency on projects and administration of funds. The deadline to provide responses to the Survey is likewise extended through April 20, 2018. Input on the Draft Plan, available at www.epa.illinois.gov/topics/air-quality/vw-settlement/index, should be sent to EPA.VWSettlement@illinois.gov.