BOSTON – Today, Feb. 15, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey called for a comprehensive statewide plan for electric vehicles and new, ambitious goals to meet electric power needs with clean energy at a hearing before the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on its use of $75 million in mitigation funds that the AG’s Office helped secure for Massachusetts as part of a multi-billion settlement with Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi.
“Massachusetts can lead the nation with a comprehensive plan for electric vehicles that will transform how we move around,” Healey said, in a media release. “This is a critical moment to invest in electric vehicles and grow our clean energy economy.”
Massachusetts is receiving the environmental mitigation funds to reduce dangerous air pollution, as part of a series of state and federal settlements totaling $15 billion with Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche for their marketing, selling and leasing of diesel vehicles equipped with illegal and undisclosed software that cheated emission tests.
These settlements included multistate settlements led by AG Healey that required Volkswagen to pay more than $720 million for violating state consumer protection and environmental laws. Massachusetts received more than $40 million of those settlements, including the largest ever civil environmental penalty recovered by the state.
In her testimony before the DEP, AG Healey laid out the office’s position on three major topics:
Use Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Dollars as a Catalyst for Future Investment
Use funds as a catalyst to advance electric vehicle infrastructure consistent with a comprehensive state plan.
- Work with mayors, state environmental, energy, and transportation agencies, utilities, and regional transit officials to discuss how to leverage the funds to build out needed EV infrastructure.
- Continue to work with DEP to ensure optimal priorities for funds.
Commitment to Electric Vehicles
- Develop a comprehensive Electric Vehicles plan to exceed the state’s current goal of 300,000 registered zero emission vehicles by 2025, including comprehensive plans for charging infrastructure and rate design, including “Time-of-Use Rates.”
- Make 100 percent of new buses purchased in Massachusetts electric by 2030
- Advance policies that make EVs accessible to families of all incomes, those living in multi-unit dwellings, including making rebates available for used EV purchases.
- Create better incentives for buildings to put charging stations in parking lots and garages.
Clean Power Goals
- Advance a credible plan to meet most of our electric power needs with renewable energy by 2050, and 50 percent or more by 2030.
- Modernize the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS), and drive advances in energy efficiency, renewables, and residential storage that will get Massachusetts to the next level.
- Continue incentives in expanding solar while making landmark investments in off-shore wind.
“The Volkswagen settlement is an unprecedented opportunity for Massachusetts to accelerate transportation electrification and achieve statewide energy and environmental goals,” said Colleen Quinn, Senior Vice President of Global Public Policy for ChargePoint. “We strongly support Attorney General Healey’s call to maximize Environmental Mitigation Trust investments in EV charging infrastructure and ensure equitable access to clean transportation by electrifying buses and trucks.”
“At Mass Energy, we see great opportunities for our state’s economy, public health, and greenhouse gas reduction by shifting from gasoline and diesel to EVs of all kinds,” said Eugenia Gibbons, Clean Energy Programs Director at Mass Energy, a Boston-based nonprofit consumer and environmental advocacy organization. “Massachusetts needs tangible policies that align with its clean energy and climate goals, including EVs. Mass Energy is pleased to see Attorney General Healey call for a comprehensive plan that includes investments in public charging infrastructure, electrification of buses, and a path to achieve 50 percent renewable energy by 2030.”
“NECEC commends Attorney General Healey for her leadership in advancing the Commonwealth’s clean energy future with strong investments in clean transportation and renewable energy,” said Northeast Clean Energy Council President Peter Rothstein. “The Attorney General’s actions are crucial to advancing the Commonwealth’s leadership in a regional clean transportation initiative that invests in clean vehicles and infrastructure. To reach the 50 percent renewables by 2030, Massachusetts must increase the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), encourage net metering, and aggressively advance energy storage and efficiency targets.”
Today’s testimony is a continuation of AG Healey’s commitment to be a 21st century ratepayer advocate for the state’s clean energy future. Her office works to ensure that customers do not pay more than they should for their utilities, and to protect the state’s residents and environment.