The Greenlining Institute is supporting the California Air Resources Board’s approval of a clean vehicle investment plan stemming from a settlement to address the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Greenlining has been critical of the plan, as it falls short of prioritizing meaningful investment in the state’s most polluted low-income communities of color, but updates to the plan have eased some of these concerns.
“Because low-income communities of color are most likely to live near busy roads and freeways, the health of these communities took the biggest hit from VW’s emissions cheating,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Legal Counsel Joel Espino.
“We’re glad that VW has updated its plan to make clear that it will work toward major investments in electric vehicle infrastructure, access and awareness in the communities that need it most. But we look forward to actions because they speak louder than words,” he said.
Under the Zero Emission Vehicle Investment Plan, to be implemented by its subsidiary Electrify America, VW will invest $800 million over 10 years in clean vehicle access, infrastructure and awareness. With some progress on commitments to underserved communities, Greenlining and a variety of environmental and public health organizations supported the plan.
“While we’re pleased with today’s decision, VW’s breach of trust with Californians requires CARB and community groups to keep a close watch on implementation,” Espino said. “We and others will keep pushing for strong CARB and stakeholder engagement to ensure that Electrify America rolls out its investments in a way that maximizes benefits to California’s poorest and most polluted communities.”