State Agencies Look At Ways To Spend $18 Million Settlement
Louisiana will receive about $18 million as a result of a $4.3 billion Volkswagen settlement, after the company pleaded guilty to cheating on air emissions tests. Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Chuck Brown says the money has to be used to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions.
“In the settlement it’s actually spelled out what the types of projects are this money can be spent on, such as reducing emissions from large trucks, busses, freight switchers, tugs and ferries,” Brown said.
Brown says he is considering using the money to replace diesel engines in school buses with engines that burn cleaner fuel. But he says no definite decision has been reached yet because other state agencies are also weighing in on the plan.
“What we’re trying to make sure is do we need to combine the funds and just look at school busses or if DOTD has ferries, do they want to replace some of the diesel engines in their ferries,” Brown said.
Brown says DEQ is set to split the money with DOTD and the Department of Natural Resources, leaving each agency with $6 million to spend. He says DEQ is leaning towards replacing school bus engines with its share, but how many buses that money would cover depends on how the state goes about it.
“With some catalytic reduction equipment, that’ll only cost $4,000, so you could do a lot of school busses with $6 million, if you decided to go that route,” Brown said, “if you purchase new busses, I think they’re in the $40,000 range.”