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Draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan Relating to the Volkswagen Settlement; Listening Sessions and Solicitation of Public Input

[47 Pa.B. 2946]
[Saturday, May 20, 2017]

 The Commonwealth has been identified as a potential Beneficiary of the partial consent decree approved by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (court) on October 25, 2016, in the case called In Re: Volkswagen ''Clean Diesel'' Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, 15-MD-2672-CRB (JSC). This First Partial Consent Decree establishes a $2.7 billion environmental mitigation trust (Mitigation Trust), to be divided primarily among the participating states, including the Commonwealth, as part of a settlement of consumer protection law claims against Volkswagen and related entities for excess emissions from certain 2.0-liter vehicles. A Second Partial Consent Decree, under the same settlement and relating to 3.0-liter subject vehicles, commits an additional $225 million to the Mitigation Trust and was filed with the court on December 20, 2016. The First and Second Partial Consent Decrees allocate a total of $118,569,539.52 to the Commonwealth.

 The Trust Agreement will be modeled on Appendix D of the First Partial Consent Decree. If the Commonwealth is approved as a Beneficiary of the previously-referenced settlement, the Department of Environmental Protection (Department) will be the Lead Agency to implement the Trust Agreement for the Commonwealth. The Department has developed this draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan under the Federal Consent Decree settlements. This draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan sets forth the Commonwealth's overall structure for use of the mitigation funds, as well as information about the specific project types eligible for funding under the settlement agreements.

A. Public Comments

 The Department is seeking public input on the draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan through July 5, 2017. The Department will host a webinar to provide summary information on the settlement agreements and the draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan, followed by six listening sessions around this Commonwealth to accept public input on the draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan. Verbal comment during the listening sessions is limited to 5 minutes for each speaker and will be recorded. Speakers are asked to submit one written copy of their comments to the Department staff at the listening session. Organizations are asked to designate one speaker to present comments on their behalf.

 The Department will make all comments received available through eComment, accessible at http://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/eComment/, and may also incorporate them into the existing Frequently Asked Questions document on the Department's Volkswagen web site at http://www.dep.pa.gov/Business/Air/Volkswagen/Pages/Environmental-Mitigation-Trust-Agreement.aspx. Comments received by the Department will be used to develop the Commonwealth's final Beneficiary Mitigation Plan.

 Commentators are encouraged to submit written comments using the Department's online eComment tool at www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/eComment/. Written comments may also be submitted by e-mail at eComment@pa.gov or hard copy to the Department of Environmental Protection, Policy Office, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063. Comments submitted by facsimile will not be accepted.

 The Department is particularly interested in receiving public comment on the following topics:

 • The Commonwealth has placed the ten Eligible Mitigation Actions into four groups: 1) on-road fleet projects; 2) nonroad/off-road fleet projects; 3) Diesel Emission Reduction Act-eligible fleet projects; and 4) light-duty zero emission vehicle supply equipment. The Department seeks comment on the percentage of the allocated funding that should be committed to each of these four groups. The Department has included a range of potential funding percentages in the draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan. Note: The funding allocation for the light-duty zero emission vehicle supply equipment group is limited in the settlements to 15% of the total funding.

 • There are several emission models available to calculate emission reduction benefits from projects. The Department seeks feedback on the most appropriate model to use to calculate emission reductions for the different types of Eligible Mitigation Actions.

 • The Trust Agreement in Appendix D establishes maximum reimbursement rates between 25—100% of eligible project costs for each eligible project type. The Department seeks feedback on whether the Department should reimburse at the maximum levels allowed under the Consent Decrees, or if the Department should reimburse at lower levels for each project type. Note: The higher the reimbursement rate, the fewer funded projects.

 • Should the Commonwealth prioritize: 1) projects that have a transformative impact on markets for eligible technologies; or 2) infrastructure to support those technologies?

 • Are there concerns about the capacity of any of the sectors eligible for funding to utilize any of the Eligible Mitigation Actions? The Department seeks feedback on whether certain sectors may have insufficient capacity to utilize or develop the Eligible Mitigation Actions.

B. Listening Session and Webinar Schedules

 A webinar will be held on May 23, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Interested parties should go to the Department's webinar webpage to register at http://www.dep.pa.gov/DataandTools/Webinars/Pages/default.aspx. See ''PA VW Beneficiary Mitigation Plan'' webinar link.

 Commentators are encouraged to register in advance of the listening sessions by calling the Department Policy Office at (717) 783-8727.

 The listening session schedule is as follows:

June 5, 2017
10 a.m.—12 p.m.
Department of Environmental
 Protection
Southcentral Regional Office
Susquehanna Rooms A and B
909 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg, PA 17110
June 7, 2017
10 a.m.—12 p.m.
Department of Environmental
 Protection
Northcentral Regional Office
Goddard Room
208 West Third Street, Suite 101
Williamsport, PA 17701-6448
June 13, 2017
10 a.m.—12 p.m.
Department of Environmental
 Protection
Southeast Regional Office
Delaware Room and Schuylkill
 River Room
2 East Main Street
Norristown, PA 19401
June 15, 2017
10 a.m.—12 p.m.
Department of Environmental
 Protection
Northeast Regional Office
2nd Floor Conference Rooms A
 and B
2 Public Square
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711-0790
June 22, 2017
10 a.m.—12 p.m.
Department of Environmental
 Protection
Northwest Regional Office
1st Floor Main Conference Room
230 Chestnut Street
Meadville, PA 16335
June 23, 2017
10 a.m.—12 p.m.
Department of Environmental
 Protection
Southwest Regional Office
Waterfront Rooms A and B
400 Waterfront Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-4745

C. Contacts

 Questions concerning the comment period, listening sessions, and webinar should be directed to the Department Policy Office at (717) 783-8727. The schedule for the sessions and a copy of the draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan are also available on the Department's Volkswagen web site at http://www.dep.pa.gov/Business/Air/Volkswagen/Pages/Environmental-Mitigation-Trust-Agreement.aspx.

 Persons in need of accommodations as provided for in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 should contact the Department at (717) 783-8727, or through the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at (800) 654-5984 (TDD users) or (800) 654-5988 (voice users) to discuss how the Department may accommodate their needs.

PATRICK McDONNELL, 
Acting Secretary

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 17-854. Filed for public inspection May 19, 2017, 9:00 a.m.]



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