August 10, 2012 | Vol. 62, No. 18
|Dear PEI Member:
Guidance that will accelerate the removal of Stage II vapor recovery equipment across the country―except California―was released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) August 7. Here is some background on the Stage II issue and details on the guidance.
A notice of final rulemaking determining that onboard refueling vapor recovery (ORVR) systems are in widespread use throughout the motor vehicle fleet was published in the Federal Register on May 16, 2012.
In that notice EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson exercised her authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to waive the statutory requirement that states with Serious, Severe and Extreme ozone nonattainment areas adopt and implement EPA programs requiring Stage II gasoline vapor recovery systems (VRS) at certain gasoline dispensing facilities. EPA's action means that any state currently implementing Stage II programs may decide to seek revisions to its State Implementation Plan (SIP) that, once approved by EPA, would allow that state to remove requirements for Stage II VRS from its governing regulations.
In order to phase out existing Stage II programs, states would need to submit SIP revisions to EPA demonstrating that, as required by Section 110(l) of the CAA, removing Stage II controls would not interfere with the state's ability to attain or maintain compliance with the 2008 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard. Then the states would need to receive approval from EPA. States in the Ozone Transport Region (OTR) remain obligated under CAA Section 184(b)(2) to implement either a Stage II program or other measures capable of achieving emissions reductions comparable to those achievable by Stage II.
The guidance document EPA issued this week provides both technical and policy recommendations to states and local areas on how to develop and submit an approvable SIP revision seeking to remove an existing Stage II program in the OTR and throughout the rest of the country.
PEI will review the 41-page guidance document and provide a more detailed analysis in the next edition of the PEI Journal.
EPA FACES TOUGH DECISION ON ETHANOL MANDATE
As a result of the drought that's killing crops across the Midwest, "corn prices have risen dramatically over the past few weeks and are likely to remain at record highs," the lawmakers said in the letter. "This means literally billions of dollars in increased costs for livestock and poultry producers, and food manufacturers."
The letter follows a petition filed with EPA a few days earlier by representatives of the U.S. livestock industry, asking EPA to halt the ethanol mandate for a year.
Corn farmers, large agricultural companies and national security
who dislike importing oil argue that a waiver would be a giveaway to oil
refiners and a knee-jerk reaction to temporary market conditions.
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EPA, under the authority of the Clean Air Act, has the authority to temporarily halt or reduce the mandate for ethanol production that is required by the federal Renewable Fuels Standard. But persuading EPA to issue a waiver will be no easy matter. The agency rejected a similar request in 2008―another drought year―saying economic damage would have to be severe. In addition, EPA signaled future petitions would have to demonstrate that implementation of the mandate itself was causing the economic harm, not just contributing to it.
One petroleum marketing lobbyist told us last week to "be sure to bring popcorn and a large soda. It will be an interesting show to watch this summer." Stay tuned.
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The TulsaLetter (ISSN 0193-9467) is published two or three times each month by the Petroleum Equipment Institute. Robert N. Renkes, Executive Vice President, Editor. Opinions expressed are the opinions of the Editor. Basic circulation confined to PEI members.