The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa will soon have three vehicle-charging stations.
Two have already been installed, one in the Black Bear Casino and Resort's main parking lot and one near the Fond du Lac Tribal Center, according to a news release from the band. The third charging station will be installed at Min No Aya Win Clinic in Cloquet.
"A lot goes into planning where to put these charging stations," said Fond du Lac's air coordinator, Joy Wiecks. "There has been a large increase in demand for electric vehicles recently and the feasibility of them becoming the new standard will depend on our ability as a country and planet to create the supporting infrastructure."
The charging stations were paid for using part of the $1.3 million the band secured from a Volkswagen trust intended for tribal nations to offset fossil fuel emissions from Volkswagen vehicles, the release said.
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The rest of the money is being used to replace seven diesel trucks with cleaner options.
"Making use of innovative technology isn't just good for business, it honors our people's way of life," Terry Savage, FDL's Executive Director of Tribal Enterprises, said in a news release. "These charging stations send a clear message to anyone coming to FDL that we support ushering in a new era of cleaner infrastructure."
The trust is the result of settlements beginning in 2015 between Volkswagen and the Environmental Protection Agency, which alleged that the German vehicle manufacturer was violating the Clean Air Act with some their vehicles emitting up to 40 times more pollution than allowed.
The civil enforcement case was resolved in 2017 when a U.S. Federal Judge ordered Volkswagen to pay a $2.5 billion criminal fine that created the trust. Of that fine, $55 million was dedicated to tribal nations. Any state or federally recognized tribe can apply for the funding.