Attorney General Chris Koster (D) says Missouri has filed a lawsuit in St. Louis City against Volkswagen AG, and its affiliates Audi AG, Porsche AG, and their American subsidiaries for the installation of so-called defeat devices in 2009 “clean diesel” vehicles. He says the automakers perpetrated a massive fraud on environmental regulators by installing the illegal devices that impaired the emission control systems in more than 7,800 registered Missouri vehicles.
In 2014, a group of University of West Virginia graduate students uncovered Volkswagen’s tool. The students determined that the automaker’s “clean diesel” vehicles emitted pollutants up to 40 times the legal limit.
Koster, who is running for governor, is asking the court to assess civil penalties against Volkswagen to deter the company and other potential polluters from violating Missouri law.
“Volkswagen’s actions demonstrate a flagrant disregard for Missouri’s environmental laws, as well as the health and welfare of Missourians,” says Koster. “We are fighting to hold Volkswagen accountable both to the consumers of the state who purchased Volkswagen vehicles, and all Missourians, who count on clean air to breathe.”
Environmental penalties were not included in Missouri’s June 2016, partial settlement with Volkswagen, which provided for Missouri to receive:
- Over $40 million in consumer restitution in the form of a consumer vehicle buy-back or vehicle-repair program, which will include a minimum of $5,000 per car for Missourians;
- Up to $39 million for environmental air-remediation programs over the next few years; and
- An $8,706,528.47 payment to the state for violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.
Air pollution control is the primary responsibility of state and local governments. Missouri has enacted the Missouri Air Conservation Law to protect the health, general welfare, and physical property of Missouri citizens.