When Volkswagen got caught cheating on smog checks, Kansas got $15 million – and the state wants your ideas on how to spend it.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is seeking the public’s ideas about what to do with the windfall, which is earmarked for improving air quality in the Sunflower State.
“They kind of want to know what people think would best help reduce the emissions,” said agency spokesman J.C. Reeves.
The money comes from a 50-state settlement against Volkswagen, following a 2015 scandal in which the German carmaker equipped millions of its diesel vehicles with illegal software that could spoof smog inspection equipment. The cars passed smog checks, but the onboard computer would shut down emission-control equipment while driving to improve performance and mileage.
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Federal litigation led to a $14.7 billion settlement, including $2.7 billion for states to spend on reducing nitrous oxide emissions.
To get its $15 million, Kansas has to give the federal government a plan for reducing emissions, especially in areas with air quality issues such as Wichita and the Kansas City suburbs.
The federal government has published guidelines for eligible projects. Some, like providing shore power to ocean-going vessels, don’t apply in Kansas.
But other possibilities that might have more promise here include replacing diesel equipment with lower-polluting alternatives or doing more to encourage use of electric cars.
For more information on eligible projects, visit www.kdheks.gov/bar/air-monitor/dieselgrant/KDHE_BOA_RFI_VWSettlement.pdf
To submit your ideas and comments to KDHE, you can e-mail email@example.com.
Comments must be received by Dec. 21.