US House regulatory vote includes proposed gasoline requirement

The US House of Representatives included proposed “Tier 3” gasoline requirements when it passed legislation that would require the Environmental Protection Agency to determine how much new regulations would cost. The American Petroleum Institute welcomed the provision, which the House adopted by 269 to 145 votes as an amendment to the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act before approving the full bill.

“The new requirements could be devastating for consumers and communities across the nation,” said Misty McGowen, API’s federal relations director, following the Sept. 23 votes. “American taxpayers deserve a thorough analysis of the economic and jobs impacts before EPA moves forward with its proposal.”

She said a study by energy consulting firm Baker & O’Brien determined that the new requirements could boost the cost of making gasoline by up to 25¢/gal, close as many as seven US refineries, and drive up carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 7.4 million tons/year because of the increased energy needed to manufacture the new fuel blend.

“EPA hasn’t done its homework,” McGowen said. “With no clear environmental benefit, these new regulations could not only drive up costs and force jobs overseas, they could actually end up increasing our carbon dioxide emissions.”

She said EPA is developing a “Tier 3” rulemaking that would further reduce sulfur levels in gasoline to an average of 10 ppm, 70% less than current levels that already are down 90% from 2004. The agency has yet to demonstrate the extent to which these extremely costly further sulfur reductions would lead to environmental improvements, McGowen maintained.

The House passed the TRAIN bill, which Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) introduced on June 24, by 249 to 169 votes. US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) denounced the legislation as an attack on the federal Clean Air Act at a Sept. 21 press briefing.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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