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Salt Lake D.A. suing Volkswagen over air quality violations

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Posted at 1:22 PM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-20 23:49:13-04

SALT LAKE CITY - Thursday could bring good news for some Volkswagen owners.

"There's going to be a lot of people who are going to want to keep their cars, and they'll have the fix done, and they'll take the $5,000," said Jeff Keller, owner of Utah Imports in Salt Lake City.

Keller is reacting to reports that VW has reached a settlement with the U.S. Government, including payouts to individual customers. The German automaker is in hot water after admitting some of its diesel model cars were loaded with software to get them past emissions test when the cars should have failed.

"The car doesn't pass when you're driving it, but it passes when you're testing it," Keller said.

Salt Lake County is also seeking damages from Volkswagen. On Wednesday, District Attorney Sim Gill filed a civil suit claiming the deception by the automaker has added to poor air quality issues along the Wasatch Front.

"This will not be tolerated in our community," Gill said. "Not by a large corporate entity or an individual polluter."

He said by statute, the county has the authority to seek up to $5,000 per car per day for the violations.

"When we talk about a public health crisis in our community, that health crisis is our eroding air quality," said Gill, who called it both a legal and moral obligation to file the suit.

Volkswagen would not comment specifically about the Salt Lake County lawsuit, but issued a general statement about the ongoing emissions issues.

"We are committed to regaining the trust of our customers and dealers and will continue to cooperate with all relevant government agencies," the company stated.

Reuters reported on Thursday that Volkswagen will reach a settlement during its court hearing in San Francisco, California. That is where the potential for payments to individual customers could also be announced. To find out if your car is one of the models impacted, click here.

Here is the information D. A. Gill's office sent to Fox 13:

SLCo DA Sues Volkwagen Over Emissions Air Quality