The Illinois EPA will host public meetings on how to spend the state’s $108 million allocation from the Volkswagen emissions cheating settlement fund. This is a rare opportunity to turn polluters' profits into pollution reduction. Join the Chicago public hearing on May 30 at the Thompson Center, and urge the IEPA to invest in Electric Vehicles, EV charging infrastructure, and public transit electrification, especially in economically disadvantaged and environmental justice communities.
IEPA issued its Draft Plan (detailed below) without soliciting public input. But thanks to plenty of outcry -- much of it from Sierra Club Illinois members, volunteers, supporters, and partners -- the agency had little choice but to include the public in the development of the Final Plan. Let's make sure we take advantage!
As outlined in the Draft Plan, the IEPA proposes to allocate the $108 million as follows: (1) Up to 20% ($21.7 million) toward on-road vehicles, such as upgrading or replacing trucks and buses
(2) Up to 65% ($70.6 million) toward off-road projects, such as upgrading or replacing locomotive engines, ferries, or tugboats
(3) Up to 10% ($10.8 million) toward replacing diesel school buses with electric school buses
(4) Up to 5% ($5.4 million) toward administrative expenditures
However, the VW mitigation agreement allows states to aside up to 15% of funds for light-duty Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure. Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, and Minnesota have proposed dedicating the full 15% for EV infrastructure, but Illinois EPA has dedicated no funds for this vital purpose. The state’s draft spending plan also focuses heavily on switching out older, dirty diesel engines for newer diesel engines, which will reduce exhaust emissions but still continue our reliance on dirty polluting fossil fuels like diesel. The singular highlight of the draft plan is the 10% allocation for all-electric school buses, which is a significant step to protecting our children across Illinois. We strongly favor this part of the plan, but urge that these buses are kept electric and not propane or diesel.
Sierra Club Illinois hopes for strong turnout at these public outreach sessions,