Photo courtesy of VW

Photo courtesy of VW

New York State is being urged to use the $117 million it’s expected to receive from the Volkswagen diesel settlement to green its fleet and implement the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) of 2006. The Environmental Advocates of New York (EANY) issued a call for Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislators to invest these funds to green the state fleet.

DERA has been delayed within the state budget since 2010. It covers all state-owned and state-contracted-for vehicles, according to EANY.

EANY also accused the state of releasing undecipherable and contradictory information about DERA compliance. In early 2016, a commissioner stated the state fleet was 82% compliant.

However, individual agencies were unable to confirm that number, according to EANY. For example, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) failed to provide compliance information any vehicles despite having told legislators in 2016 it was in total compliance. Agriculture and Markets similarly failed to provide information requested. The Thruway Authority demonstrated that 44% of its vehicles in the DERA program were compliant, and the Power Authority stated 14% of its vehicles were compliant with the law.

The group cited numerous and expensive health problems of New Yorkers related to diesel emissions, including breathing problems and respiratory infections.