Illinois sues Volkswagen over diesel emissions
Illinois on Monday sued Volkswagen over the environmental impact of the emissions cheating scandal that came to light last year at the German automaker.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan accused VW and its Audi and Porsche units of tampering with emission controls in 2-liter and 3-liter VW and Audi diesel engine cars, violating state environmental laws in the process.
VW acknowledged last year that about 500,000 VWs and Audis with 2-liter, four-cylinder diesel engines were programmed to cheat on emissions tests.
Madigan was among 43 state attorneys general who previously reached a $275 million settlement with Volkswagen earlier this year for violating state consumer protection laws for marketing, selling and leasing diesel vehicles with illegal and undisclosed software that concealed the true levels of nitrogen oxide emissions by those vehicles.
The lawsuit filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court is over the environmental impact, alleging "unauthorized impairment of vehicle air pollution control systems."
"By installing defeat devices in the unlawful vehicles, VW rendered inoperative those vehicles' air pollution control systems," in the process violating Illinois Pollution Control Board regulations, the lawsuit says.
At least 11 other states have filed environmental lawsuits against VW so far, according to Madigan's office.
The lawsuit says there are more 19,000 affected vehicles in Illinois.
Madigan is asking the court to, among other things, assess a penalty of up to $50,000 for each violation of a regulation deeming it unlawful for any person to cause an air-pollution control system to be inoperative, and an additional penalty of up to $10,000 for each day of each violation.
VW has agreed to spend about $10 billion on consumer restitution and buybacks, $2.7 billion to lessen the impact of the excess emissions, and $2 billion to promote clean cars.
"Volkswagen is committed to reaching a fair and efficient resolution of remaining federal and state diesel claims in the United States," VW spokesperson Jeannine Ginivan said in an email. To date, Volkswagen has agreed to buy back or modify affected 2-liter vehicles, "establish a $2.7 billion environmental remediation trust, which will benefit all states including Illinois, and invest $2 billion for infrastructure and awareness to increase the use of zero-emission vehicles across the United States."
VW "will review Illinois' complaint and respond appropriately," Ginivan said.