Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Two congressmen question EPA’s Volkswagen settlement

U.S. Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Tim Murphy (R-PA), the respective chairs of the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, recently wrote to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy about the agency’s settlement with Volkswagen.

The car manufacturer was caught using software to beat EPA emissions tests, and as part of the partial consent decree in the Volkswagen "Clean Diesel" Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, the EPA is requiring Volkswagen to make $2 billion in zero emission vehicle (ZEV) investments in the next decade.

“Under the structure of the ZEV investment commitment, VW may be able to obtain substantial competitive benefits, if not a monopoly on electric vehicle infrastructure, under the required investments,” Upton and Murphy said. “It appears that, just as the company plans to enter the EV market, it will be consenting to a court-required $2 billion investment – potentially into its own infrastructure and to support its own newly entered market. This is a curious outcome for the settlement of a cheating scandal.”

Upton and Murphy have also requested more information from the EPA to understand how the agency reached the $2 billion figure and to understand the agency’s assessments of Volkswagen’s excess emissions.

“We seek your assistance in clarifying this situation," Upton and Murphy said. "We seek to understand the mechanisms of the ZEV investment commitment and whether and how the process will protect the integrity and competitiveness of the existing ZEV marketplace. ... Moreover, it is not clear what EPA’s role will be regarding management and oversight of the investment process.”

Organizations in this Story

U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce U.S. Representative Fred Upton (MI-6)

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