MONTPELIER — Vermont is suing Volkswagen AG and its affiliates Audi AG and Porsche AG, as well as their American subsidiaries, for the sale and lease of diesel automobiles that were fitted with illegal “defeat devices.” The devices concealed the release of large amounts of nitrogen oxides (commonly referred to as “NOx”), a harmful pollutant, in excess of Vermont’s motor vehicle emissions standards.
“For seven years, the defendants polluted our air, covered up their wrongdoing in order to mislead environmental regulators, and then sold their vehicles, at a premium, to unsuspecting customers,” said Attorney General Sorrell. “We will not tolerate blatant disregard of laws designed to protect our environment, the public health, and our consumers.”
The defendants also deceptively advertised the vehicles as “clean,” “green” and “environmentally friendly.”
In fact, the vehicles spewed pollutants up to 40 times the legal limit.
The defendants’ environmental message resonated with Vermonters who sought to help the environment, not pollute it. Vermonters were the second highest per capita purchasers of the illegal vehicles in the United States.
“For over two decades, Vermont has been a leader in adopting stringent motor vehicle emissions standards,” said the Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources Deb Markowitz. “Cars are responsible for more than half of the nitrogen oxide pollution emitted in Vermont, and the actions of the defendants not only violated our environmental laws, but demonstrate a blatant disregard for the protection of our state’s natural resources and health of Vermonters.”