San Antonio recently received some very welcoming news regarding efforts to improve air quality and reach attainment status by 2021. The final Volkswagen Beneficiary Mitigation Plan for Texas was released and San Antonio will be receiving $61.6 million of the $209 million for the entire State of Texas.
The money was the result of a settlement between Volkswagen, the federal government, and the State of California over the Company’s emissions cheating scandal. A draft plan, released earlier this year, had San Antonio receiving $73.5 million. The $61.6 million will allow local businesses and City of San Antonio to reduce air pollution by replacing older polluting vehicles with cleaner fleets.
Since Bexar County’s non-attainment designation, the Chamber has been actively engaged in ensuring San Antonio received its fair share of the Volkswagen Settlement. The Chamber submitted public comments and testified at public hearings in Austin and San Antonio in support of the original $73.5 million allocated to San Antonio.
Bexar County was designated a non-attainment community at the marginal classification, the lowest of the five classifications. We believe that is the result of our track record of implementing voluntary measures to reduce air pollution. This is why we strongly believe we have a real chance of getting back into attainment by 2021. The Chamber believed Bexar County was the most impactful place to invest the funds and would compliment a range of other efforts that the community has undertaken to voluntarily reduce emissions:
- CPS Energy, now leads the state in solar generation and is one of the largest buyers of wind-generated electricity in the nation;
- CPS has also closed several local coal-fired power plants;
- VIA Metropolitan Transit has transitioned half of its fleet to cleaner-burning compressed natural gas;
- Three of San Antonio’s largest manufacturers (Toyota, Buzzi Unicem, and Alamo Cement) have all voluntarily sought and achieved ENERGY STAR certifications
This grant is an acknowledgement of Bexar County’s aggressive, all-of-the-above approach to improving air quality and avoiding the penalties associated with non-attainment.
“The SACC Energy Committee is especially grateful for the Governor and the state’s continued attention to and advocacy for Bexar County’s air quality,” said Brandon Seale, 2018 Energy and Sustainability Committee Chair and President of Howard Energy Mexico.