26 December 2000 22:59 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (CNI)--Three US farm groups are urging President Bill Clinton to deny California's request for an oxygenate waiver under the federal Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) program.
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and the National Farmers Union (NFU) said in a letter to Clinton that the scientific evidence presented to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is considering the matter, does not support California's waiver request.
The trio of trade groups added: "One of the main arguments being used to support the waiver request is that emissions of nitrogen oxides will increase if the waiver is not granted. However, a plain reading of the Clean Air Act [CAA] reveals that an increase in these emissions would be a violation of the law and therefore could not occur."
In April 1999, California asked to be excused from the Clean Air Act requirement that RFG contain at least 2% oxygen by weight because of concerns over methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) contamination in groundwater. MTBE has been the principal oxygenate used to raise the oxygen level of gasoline to the CAA-mandated 2% level.
Farm groups have championed California's oxygen requirements as a means of ensuring compliance with the CAA and increasing demand for ethanol as a replacement for MTBE.
Said the farm groups: "The record clearly shows that California's waiver request is not motivated by a legitimate concern related to the air quality impacts of oxygenates."
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