For Immediate Release

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Lauren Lantry (202) 548-6599

Sierra Club Statement on Volkswagen’s Second Clean Diesel Proposal and Hearing

SAN FRANCISCO - Today, at a hearing presided by Judge Charles Breyer, Volkswagen submitted its second proposal to its plan for getting 600,000 diesel vehicles off U.S. roads. This proposal follows Volkswagen’s failure to submit a detailed proposal at the previously scheduled hearing on March 24 regarding the rigged pollution controls that Volkswagen used to cheat emissions tests.

Volkswagen’s proposal includes buying back or fixing the affected 2.0-liter diesel vehicles sold in the U.S. since 2009, including versions of the Jetta sedan, the Golf compact and the Audi A3 sold since 2009. The buyback offer does not apply to the bigger, 80,000 3.0-liter diesel vehicles also found to have exceeded U.S. pollution limits, including Audi and Porsche SUV models.  In addition, Volkswagen agreed to an owner compensation fund.  

Judge Breyer set a negotiation deadline for June 21, 2016. Following procedural rules under the Clean Air Act, after that deadline, Volkswagen’s final proposed settlement will be up for public comments for 30 days followed by a period of review.

In response, Sierra Club California Chapter Director Kathryn Phillips released the following statement:

"Volkswagen’s deceit is as dangerous as the smog left behind by its vehicles’ tailpipes, so the final settlement needs to fix or remove all of the polluting cars still on the road, make whole the consumers who trusted the vehicles were lower polluting, and compensate for the pollution the faulty cars created.

“For this settlement, nothing short of public health, consumer rights, and the environment are at stake and currently, it does not go far enough. Without strict penalties, and without fixing or removing the polluting vehicles, people will continue to breathe dirtier air, consumers will lose faith in watchdog agencies, and manufacturers will believe they can endanger our health without feeling the full consequence.

“It’s time Volkswagen shift its focus to clean electric vehicles, without dirty tailpipes and emissions, to protect the air we breathe.”

In September 2015, Volkswagen admitted to installing software in certain diesel vehicles designed to bypass pollution control systems, resulting in dangerous emissions up to 40 times than that allowed by law. The company faces hundreds of lawsuits for its actions. In January 2016, the California Air Resources Board rejected Volkswagen’s proposal for recalling thousands of cars rigged to circumvent state and federal air-pollution standards. In March 2016, citing insufficient details, Judge Breyer gave Volkswagen an extension on its proposal deadline.


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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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