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Lesniak Calls On Christie To Dedicate $69M Volkswagen Settlement To Get Dirty Trucks Off NJ Roads & Electrify Ports

Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, the prime sponsor of legislation to allow casinos to operate Internet wagering sites, testifies before the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee on his bill.

TRENTON – Senator Raymond J. Lesniak today called on Governor Christie to dedicate the $69 million settlement the state will receive from Volkswagen as a result of the company’s deceptive practices to reducing pollution in and around Port Newark and Elizabeth.

“Economic justice requires that reducing the pollution spewing from old diesel trucks and activity at Port Newark and Elizabeth, which greatly impacts the Ironbound and South Ward in Newark, the Elizabethport section of Elizabeth and areas of Jersey City and Bayonne, be a priority for use of the $69 million settlement,” said Senator Lesniak. “Health studies have shown the substantial ill health effects from trucks driving through the Ironbound in Newark to Port Newark. Idling trucks no doubt have had impact on residents of Elizabeth, Jersey City and Bayonne.

“This money was sought by the state in response to practices by Volkswagen that put our environment and the health of our residents at grave risk. It should be utilized to replace older trucks that are creating pollution in and around the ports as well as diesel-powered cargo handling equipment that create serious environmental and health hazards in our state. This is not only an economic imperative, it is our moral imperative.”

The governor this week announced that Volkswagen Group of America will pay the state $69 million to settle allegations that it violated New Jersey’s clean air statutes and defrauded consumers by selling diesel vehicles equipped with “cheat” software that deactivated their on-board emission controls except during emissions testing. As a result, the lawsuit charged, Volkswagen cars spewed unlawful quantities of nitrogen oxides (“NOx”) into the air during everyday use. NOx has been linked to multiple respiratory diseases.