Senate vote terminates MTBE threat

The Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee voted on 25 September to approve a bill which addresses the problem dealing with the gasoline additive methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE).

Specifically, the bill, introduced in May of this year by Republican Senator Bob Smith (see related story), authorises $400 million for the cleanup of contamination and prevention of further contamination caused by MTBE. The bill will ban the use of MTBE in gasoline within four years, and allow Governors to waive the oxygen mandate in the Clean Air Act, while preserving the environmental benefits of the air toxics limits in the statute.

The bill, number S-950, will also provide funds to help transition from MTBE to other clean, safe fuels additives, and addresses the problems associated with MTBE without any reduction in the clean air benefits of the Reformulated Gasoline program (RFG), reports the WaterTechOnline news service.

“I am also very pleased that this bill is consistent with the President’s National Energy Policy because it will help to reduce the intra-regional patchwork of what are known as ‘boutique’ fuels,” Smith said. “This will ease the burden on refineries and fuel supply, which in turn will reduce the risk of increased gas prices for the consumer.”

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