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State, feds settle emissions fraud suits with VW

PARIS ACHEN - Left to right, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Gov. Kate Brown announce two settlements with Volkswagon over emissions fraud suits. The officials made the announcement Tuesday, June 28, 2016, at the World Trade Center Plaza in Portland.Portland – The state and federal government have settled two lawsuits with Volkswagen related to the company misrepresenting the amount of emissions its diesel-powered vehicles produced.

The federal settlement, which has yet to receive final approval, requires Volkswagen to pay more than $68.2 million into a trust to support diesel-emission reduction programs in Oregon and to make cash payments of $5,100 each to 13,000 Oregonians who purchased the falsely-marketed vehicles. Volkswagen also has agreed to buy back or fix certain VW and Audi diesel vehicles. Other states will receive similarly funded emission reductions programs.

In a separate multistate settlement reached by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and 37 other attorneys general, Volkswagen has agreed to pay $570 million for violating state laws prohibiting unfair or deceptive trade practices. Oregon receives $17 million of that payment.

Oregon was among six states that led the investigation into the company’s deceptive trade practices, in part because Oregon has the highest per-capita ownership of the affected VW vehicles in the nation, Rosenblum said.

The attorneys general investigation confirmed that VW and Porsche sold more than 570,000 2.0- and 3.0-liter diesel vehicles in the United States, concealing the existence of “defeat device” software installed in the vehicles. The software enabled the company to circumvent emissions standards for certain air pollutants. VW and Porsche misrepresented the cars as environmentally friendly and compliant with federal and state emissions standards, Rosenblum said. In fact, the vehicles emitted harmful amounts of nitrogen oxides, she said.

Tuesday’s settlements resolve consumer claims raised by 38 states, the federal government and car owners in private class action suits.

Rosenblum and Gov. Kate Brown made the settlement announcements Tuesday morning at the World Trade Center in Portland.

By Paris Achen
Portland Tribune Capital Bureau Reporter
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