The state of Washington slapped Volkswagen with a $176-million dollar fine for its emissions-cheating diesels in a move that could open the proverbial flood gates.

Volkswagen has preliminary approval on a $14.7-billion national resolution – rather than state-by-state deals – that will see it buy back or modify the roughly 500,000 cheating TDI vehicles on the US market, create a $2.7 billion environmental trust, and invest $2 billion in infrastructure for zero-emissions vehicles. Also, we're guessing, VW prefers the national deal because negotiating with one entity is easier than dealing with 50.

"It is regrettable that some states have decided to seek environmental claims now, notwithstanding their prior support of this ongoing federal-state collaborative process," the company told Automotive News Europe in a statement.

Washington is the second US state to issue its own fine to the automaker this month, following California's example earlier this month. In Washington's case, Volkswagen's "fraudulent software...violated our state's air quality laws and put people's health at risk," state Ecology Director Maia Bellon said in a statement obtained by ANE.

The fine isn't set in stone, yet. According to ANE, Volkswagen hasn't said whether it will appeal the punishment. It has 30 days to decide.

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