Tennessee lawmakers plan hearings on VW emissions scandal

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Haslam ‘concerned’ about Volkswagen cheating claims.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Lawmakers in Tennessee plan to hold hearings over whether the Volkswagen emissions scandal could imperil the nearly $900 million in state and local incentives that have been directed toward the German automaker’s lone U.S. plant in Chattanooga. Senator Bo Watson, calling allegations about an emission scandal at Volkswagen “troubling,” has called for an urgent meeting of the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee.NASHVILLE — Revelations that Volkswagen, a leading employer in Tennessee, may have intentionally cheated on carbon emissions testing for hundreds of thousands of vehicles is concerning, said Gov. The company has since admitted that the software was installed on some 11 million vehicles, and CEO Martin Winterkorn has said he’s “endlessly sorry” for tarnishing the VW brand. While all of the relevant facts may remain unreported at this time, I am very concerned as to the financial impact these violations could present to the State of Tennessee.

The Environmental Protection Agency accuses the German automaker of installing a device in 482,000 vehicles that makes it appear as though the vehicles meet emission standards when tested. As the chairman is aware, Tennesseans have made a significant investment in Volkswagen and any action that threatens the stability and sustainability of the investment should be reviewed by the Finance Committee, without delay. The state portion of the most recent incentive package would be subject to a “clawback provision” should VW fail to meet its spending and hiring goals at the factory. “I think he’d just like to provide some reassurance form Volkswagen to the Legislature and the public that the investments we’ve made are in good order,” McNally said in a phone interview. “I don’t think we’d get into the details of what they’ve been cited for and don’t think they’d be able to answer that anyway.” A Volkswagen spokesman in Chattanooga did not immediately respond to email and text messages seeking comment about the hearings. Watson earlier this year labeled Volkswagen a “magnet for organized labour, intentionally” before being the lone senator to abstain from a vote on incentives for the factory located in his home town.

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