(Reuters) — Volkswagen and its Audi unit have agreed to an $85 million settlement in principle for violations of Texas environmental laws stemming from its diesel cheating scandal, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said on Thursday.
The settlement stipulates that the German automakers pay an $85 million civil penalty for their illegal actions, Paxton said.
Earlier this month, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the state’s environmental lawsuit against Volkswagen and Audi could go forward.
Volkswagen, which declined to comment on Thursday, has previously settled US actions stemming from the emissions scandal for more than $20 billion, but that did not shield it from local and state government liability, courts previously ruled.
“If a company thinks they̵7;re going to avoid liability when they violate Texas laws, put Texas at risk and pollute our environment, they’re dead wrong. Volkswagen and Audi are finding that out the hard way, and now they’re paying the price,” Paxton said. in a statement.
In 2015, Volkswagen revealed that it had used sophisticated software to evade emissions requirements in nearly 11 million vehicles worldwide. It also misled the US Environmental Protection Agency, which began investigating the matter in 2014.
Paxton’s office did not immediately respond to a query seeking more information about the settlements.
Volkswagen’s American subsidiary unsuccessfully argued in 2021 that under the Clean Air Act, the US environmental law, only the federal government can enforce emissions requirements.
In 2022, Ohio settled with VW for $3.5 million, which was a fraction of what the state had previously sought. VW said in earlier court filings that Ohio’s claims could have amounted to “$350 million per day, or more than $127 billion per year, over a multi-year period.”