Harris County seeks millions from Volkswagen for unlawful fumes

By Gabrielle Banks

Harris County seized on the outrage of the Volkswagen emissions scandal, saying in a multimillion dollar lawsuit filed Tuesday that the German automaker contributed to the region's poor air quality.

In what is likely the first government lawsuit over Volkswagen's deception, Harris County officials claim that 6,000 diesel cars circulating on local roadways produced harmful emissions. These vehicles came off the line between 2009 and 2015, installed with software that could circumvent emissions monitoring.

"We have to use the maximum power of the law to penalize them. It is a grave act, what they've done," said Terence O'Rourke, the special assistant county attorney. "When you cheat like this, with the biggest car company in the world, and you lie in such a sinister way, you jeopardize the entire system of environmental regulations."

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