Secretary of Natural Resources Office



In 2016 the United States reached a settlement with companies collectively known as “Volkswagen” (VW) to resolve allegations that VW knowingly enabled automobiles to emit pollutants that far exceeded what is allowable under U.S. emissions standards (violating the Clean Air Act). As a result, a multimillion-dollar mitigation trust account was established for federally recognized tribes to reduce nitrous oxide emissions through approved mitigation plans. Cherokee Nation designed a large, multiple year mitigation program and was officially designated as an approved beneficiary in 2018.

Our mitigation plan focuses primarily on replacing specific classes of diesel-powered vehicles with zero-emission electric-powered vehicles and installing supporting infrastructure in iconic locations. In May of 2019, the Trustee disbursed monies to the Nation for the 1st of five (5) total funding cycles for which the Cherokee Nation is eligible.  The VW project will align closely with our Low or No Emissions Program to support long-term sustainability goals and maximize funding opportunities.  We will satisfy VW Beneficiary reporting obligations by compiling semiannual reports, which can be viewed in our public notices section.


Public Notice