South Dakota will seek more cleaner-air applications for VW diesel settlement

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The government agency that oversees South Dakota’s share of the Volkswagen diesel settlement so far has put some of the money toward helping buy snowplows for the state Department of Transportation and the city of Sioux Falls.

Volkswagen agreed in a 2016 lawsuit that it misrepresented nitrogen-oxide emissions that were found to exceed the federal Clean Air Act. South Dakota was allocated about $8 million as part of a national settlement.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources is administering distribution of South Dakota’s proceeds. One of the uses provides rebates to state and local governments in purchasing new freight trucks to replace older, higher-emitting ones.

So far, DENR has provided 25% rebates to:

South Dakota Housing Development Administration for a new house-moving truck made by Mack that cost $145,000;

City of Sioux Falls for four Freightliner plow trucks that cost $91,838 apiece and for seven Freightliner plow trucks that were $107,841 each;

SDDOT for one Freightliner plow truck that cost $282,807 for the Mitchell region; and

SDDOT for one Freightliner plow truck that cost $272,549 for the Rapid City region.

DENR plans to open the fourth round of applications for government truck rebates on January 4, 2021, and start the evaluation and selection process February 1. The fifth round opens June 1, 2021. About $900,000 will be available in rounds 4 and 5.

The department also is accepting applications for installing electric-vehicle charging stations in South Dakota. The program offers rebates up to 80%.

Some of the Volkswagen settlement has gone to the department’s clean-diesel grant program too. “The program provides rebates to assist in purchasing new buses to replace old, high-emitting diesel buses,” the DENR web page says.

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