US waives clean gasoline rules for Sandy-hit region
By RYAN TRACY
WASHINGTON -- The US Environmental Protection Agency waived regulations on gasoline content in 16 states in the wake of the massive storm that hit the Northeast US earlier this week.
The temporary waiver was meant to free up gasoline supplies and came after the storm knocked out refineries, pipelines and terminals for distributing petroleum.
Without the waiver, many of the states would have to use a special blend of gasoline to reduce pollution, rather than conventional blends that may be more widely available. The action by the EPA allows the sale of conventional gasoline even if it doesn't meet Clean Air Act regulations.
"Extreme and unusual supply circumstances exist that will prevent the distribution of an adequate supply of gasoline to consumers," said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in a letter to governors.
The waiver will last through Nov. 20, Ms. Jackson said, after which refiners and importers can no longer produce or import gasoline that doesn't meet the rules. Any fuel already in the distribution system by that time can be sold, Ms. Jackson said.
The affected states were Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, New York, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, the EPA said in a press release.
The waiver also applies to Washington, D.C.
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