HARRISBURG, Pa., April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Prompted by gasoline supply
shortages in the five-county Philadelphia area (Bucks, Chester, Delaware,
Montgomery and Philadelphia counties), Governor Edward G. Rendell today
requested that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issue a temporary
waiver that would allow gasoline suppliers to sell fuel that does not meet
federal Clean Air Act reformulated gasoline guidelines.
"We have information indicating that a major gasoline supplier in the
Philadelphia area is reporting more than 160 'delivery-needed' alarms, and
many more fuel outlets reporting that supplies are nearly exhausted,"
Governor Rendell wrote in a letter to EPA Administrator Steven L. Johnson.
"In light of the circumstances, the requested [waiver] is clearly necessary
to serve the public interest."
The gasoline shortages apparently have been caused by problems
associated with terminals making the switch between "winterblend" gasoline
and reformulated blends that help curb summertime ground-level ozone
pollution. In addition, refiners have precipitously stopped using the
octane enhancer methyl-tertiary-butyl-ether (MTBE) exacerbating fuel
shortage problems since MTBE had constituted about 10 percent of gasoline.
"A short waiver will protect the public without meaningfully polluting
the air. We need the federal government to act to help get us through what
otherwise will be a very difficult situation," said Governor Rendell.
Three major petroleum refineries in the Philadelphia area refine almost
700,000 barrels of crude oil daily into gasoline, diesel fuel, and home
heating oil, not only for the commonwealth, but also for the entire East
The 1990 federal Clean Air Act amendments created the federal
reformulated gasoline program in order to improve air quality in the
nation's worst ozone nonattainment areas. The federal program requires
specially formulated gasoline blends that ensure significant reductions of
ground-level ozone forming pollution when it is used in our vehicles.
In Pennsylvania, the reformulated gasoline program is federally
mandated in the city of Philadelphia and in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and
Montgomery and counties. These counties were originally designated as a
"severe" nonattainment area for the old one-hour ozone national ambient air
quality standard and are currently in "moderate" nonattainment for the new
eight-hour ozone standard.
The Rendell Administration is committed to creating a first-rate public
education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing
economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out
more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his weekly
newsletter, visit his Web site at: htpp://www.governor.state.pa.us.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A copy of Governor Rendell's letter to EPA Administrator
Johnson is attached
The Honorable Steven L. Johnson
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building, 1101A
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
Dear Administrator Johnson:
I am writing to respectfully request that the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) issue a "No Action Assurance" for the Reformulated
Gasoline (RFG) requirements in the five-county Philadelphia area for two
weeks or until such time as adequate supplies of complying gasoline are
assured in the area. Given the information we have received to date on the
impacts in Pennsylvania of the transition from "winterblend" gasoline to
RFG and the rapid phase-out of methyl-tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) by
refiners, we believe that the "No Action Assurance" is necessary to curtail
and/or avoid temporary supply disruptions, fuel shortages, and their
concomitant impact on consumers, refiners and the economy."
The five-county Philadelphia region (Bucks, Chester, Delaware,
Montgomery and Philadelphia counties) of Pennsylvania comprise an area
designated by the EPA as in nonattainment of the eight-hour ozone National
Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). Consequently, use of RFG is mandated
as an effective means to help achieve the health-based ozone NAAQS. Three
major petroleum refineries in the Philadelphia area refine almost 700,000
barrels of crude oil daily into gasoline, diesel fuel and home heating oil,
not only for the Commonwealth, but also for the entire Eastern coast of the
United States. The Commonwealth believes that a "No Action Assurance"
issued by EPA for the RFG program in the five-county Philadelphia area will
allow Pennsylvania refineries, terminals and distributors the flexibility
to provide critical fuels for suppliers unable to receive sufficient fuel
during the critical transition substituting ethanol for MTBE, as prescribed
under the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
We have information indicating that a major gasoline supplier in the
Philadelphia area is reporting more than 160 delivery-needed alarms, and
many more fuel outlets reporting that supplies are nearly exhausted. In
light of the circumstances, the requested assurance is "clearly necessary
to serve the public interest." Thank you for your immediate attention to
this pressing matter. If you have additional questions about the effects of
the fuel situation on Pennsylvania, please feel free to contact Dan
Desmond, Deputy Secretary, Office of Energy and Technology Deployment, by
phone at 717-783-0540 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tom Fidler,
Deputy Secretary, Waste, Air and Radiation Management, by phone
717-772-2725 or by e-mail email@example.com.
Edward G. Rendell
Cc: Deb Failor
CONTACT: Kate Philips
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor