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PA GUIDELINES FOR OPTING OUT OF REFORMULATED GAS PROGRAM

Release Date: 06/28/96
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PA GUIDELINES FOR OPTING OUT OF REFORMULATED GAS PROGRAM

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 1996

EPA ISSUES GUIDELINES FOR STATES OPTING OUT

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 1996
EPA ISSUES GUIDELINES FOR STATES OPTING OUT OF REFORMULATED GASOLINE PROGRAMS

EPA recently finalized guidelines that outline procedures for states planning to withdraw from the reformulated gasoline (RFG) program in areas where it is not required by the Clean Air Act. RFG is required in l0 areas of the United States with the worst ground level ozone problems. Reformulated gasoline burns more efficiently, evaporates less and has lower toxic emissions. The Act also provides an option for other areas that exceed the standard to adopt the program. The guidelines apply only in states that voluntarily opted in counties and later decided to withdraw some or all of the areas from the program. If a state decides to opt out, the Governor or an authorized representative is required to submit a petition to the Administrator for review and approval. Once approval has been given, the Agency will notify the state in writing and publish a notice in the Federal Register. The notification will also give the date the opt out becomes effective, generally 90 days from Agency approval of the request. The procedures are designed to encourage states to assess the air quality ramifications of withdrawing from the RFG program. Though EPA recognizes states have the flexibility in developing a mix of control strategies to achieve compliance with the standards, opting out may result in a loss of reductions in volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides and air toxics that might otherwise help states comply or maintain compliance with the air quality standards. The Agency said that opting out will not relieve the states from that responsibility. The Agency also approved opt out requests for nine counties in New York, 28 in Pennsylvania and two counties in Maine. These areas never sold RFG since, upon the state's request, they received a temporary suspension of the program before it began in 1995. Reformulated gasoline is designed to reduce ozone-forming volatile organic compounds and air toxics emissions by increasing the oxygen content to promote more complete fuel combustion.