Volkswagen Settlement projects reduce diesel pollution in Nevada, over $3 million awarded

Since 2018, Nevada has leveraged more than $10 million through the Volkswagen Settlement Fund to reduce harmful emissions from older diesel engines and support statewide vehicle electrification efforts

Cleaner transportation means cleaner air for all Nevadans! Over the past year, Nevada’s share of Volkswagen (VW) Settlement funds have been invested in projects that are helping the Silver State drive towards a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable future.

In 2017, Nevada was awarded $24.8 million from the settlement reached with VW after the auto company was found guilty of installing devices on its diesel vehicles to “cheat” emissions tests – allowing up to 40 times the allowable pollution to be released into the air. Administered by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP), Nevada’s VW settlement funds provide grants to help replace old-diesel engines with cleaner alternatives and technologies that reduce harmful air pollutants such as nitrogen oxide (NOx), particulate matter, and greenhouse gases. To date, NDEP has provided over $10 million in VW funds after two years of grant funding for projects that will collectively eliminate more than 755 tons of NOx vehicle pollution statewide, nearly one-and-a-half times the amount of NOx emitted by all of the VW cheating vehicles operating in Nevada, providing healthier air quality in communities where Nevadans live, work, play, and attend school.

Below are examples of projects awarded using VW settlement funds to support diesel, electric, and alternative fuel projects across Nevada: 

Replacement of old-diesel school buses, transit buses, and refuse trucks with clean-diesel and alternative fuel vehicles – VW funds have been committed to support the replacement of approximately 50 old-diesel vehicles with cleaner alternatives in areas such as Washoe, Clark, Pershing, and Humboldt counties. All of these vehicles operate in communities where air pollution is a leading issue, and/or areas with more children and elderly populations, who are the most sensitive to air pollution.

Replacement of high-emissions, fossil-fuel-powered ground support equipment with electric upgrades at the McCarran and Reno-Tahoe airports – Older airport ground support equipment, such as baggage tugs, emit high levels of toxic emissions into the air, as they were built during a time when lower or no emission limits were in place. Replacing these engines with electric equipment will measurably improve air quality throughout two of Nevada’s major cities and surrounding communities. These projects have also spurred an additional $6 million for clean transportation infrastructure, funded by the McCarran airport, Federal Aviation Administration, Clark County Department of Aviation, and NV Energy.

Nevada Electric Highway Project – 15% of Nevada’s VW funds, the maximum allocated under the settlement, are being leveraged to support the construction of electric vehicle charging infrastructure along Nevada’s major highways. This investment towards a future of clean transportation throughout the state strengthens Nevada’s resilience to climate change.

And that’s just the beginning. Today, NDEP announced that it will be awarding the second round of VW competitive grants, totaling over $3 million, to help fund clean-diesel school buses in Humboldt County, zero-emission electric airport ground equipment in Las Vegas, and compressed natural gas-powered refuse trucks in Clark and Washoe Counties. These projects will collectively eliminate approximately 60 tons of NOx emissions.

“Reducing pollution from diesel engines is an important component of protecting the health of all Nevadans, and especially children and the elderly, who are the most sensitive to pollution from diesel emissions,” said Greg Lovato, Administrator of NDEP. “We are excited to help replace outdated vehicles and equipment with alternatives that better protect public health. These projects support Nevada’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas pollution, improving air quality, promoting clean energy, and fostering a vibrant and sustainable future for all Nevadans.”

“This investment of the settlement funds will make an immediate impact on local air quality,” said Clark County Department of Air Quality Director Marci Henson. “In the first year alone, we expect to see a 500 – 600 ton reduction in NOx as a result of investing in all-electric ground equipment for three airlines—Allegiant, Southwest and United—at McCarran Airport. We look forward to building upon these successes and promoting cleaner transportation options for Clark County’s visitors and citizens alike.”

“Mobile sources and diesel engines in general continue to be a significant contributor of NOx emissions in Washoe County,” said Francisco Vega, Director, Air Quality Management Divisions, Washoe County Health District. “Replacement of these allow us to further our mission to protect and enhance the well-being and quality of life for all in Washoe County. The county, in partnership with NDEP, will continue to look for opportunities such as these to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County.”

“Creating sustainable, healthy communities is a core value of Waste Management,” says Greg Martinelli, Northern Nevada’s Area Manager for WM. “We are honored to receive this award from Nevada Division of Environmental Protection. It will help us toward our goal of converting the majority of our entire collection fleet to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) trucks, which are more fuel efficient and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.” For every diesel truck WM replaces with natural gas they reduce their use of diesel fuel by an average of 8,000 gallons per year along with a reduction of 14 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year (the equivalent of a 15 percent emissions reduction per truck).

AwardeeAward AmountProject
Clark County
Allegiant Air$127,308.00Electric replacement of four pieces of gasoline-powered airport ground support equipment
JetBlue Airways$176,617.20Electric replacement of five pieces of gasoline-powered airport ground support equipment
Republic Services$920,000.00CNG replacement of 23 diesel-powered refuse trucks
Southwest Airlines$1,072,702.22Electric replacement of eight diesel-powered aircraft pushback tugs
Humboldt County
Humboldt County School District$555,072.19Diesel replacement of five diesel-powered school buses
Washoe County
Waste Management$225,000.00CNG replacement of five diesel-powered refuse trucks

For more information, visit ndep.nv.gov/air/vw-settlement

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