EPA to Propose New Standards on Emissions

February 9, 2012

The regulation of Tier 3 emissions and a further reduction in the sulfur content in gasoline could have a negative impact on our economy. “If plants close as a result of this or other EPA rules, workers will lose their jobs, local and small businesses will lose their customers, and state and local governments will lose tax revenue,” said several Senators in a Jan. 12 letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

Under the Clean Air Act (CAA), the EPA Administrator has the discretionary authority to regulate or control any fuel or fuel additive or any emission product of such fuel if, in the judgment of the Administrator, such fuel or fuel additive causes, or contributes, to air pollution or water pollution that may reasonably be anticipated to endanger the public health or welfare.

Currently, the EPA’s standard for the sulfur content in gasoline is 30 parts per million (ppm). A further reduction of sulfur to levels as low as 10 ppm will have an adverse impact at the pump, especially when consumers and the small businesses that depend on them for support are just now getting their heads above water. This is one of the many points raised in a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson from Senators James Inhofe (R – OK), Lisa Murkowski (R – AK), John Barrasso (R – WY), David Vitter (R – LA), Mary Landrieu (D – LA), and Mark Begich (D – AK).

In their letter to EPA Administrator Jackson, the Senators (citing a study by Baker & O’Brien) expressed concern that the capital and annual operating costs associated with implementing a standard of 10 ppm per year could be up to $17 billion and $13 billion respectively, and that depending on the stringency of the proposed rule that could add 12 to 25 cents to each gallon of gasoline.

“I am deeply concerned that the EPA is crafting these new Tier 3 regulations without regard to the real-world consequences for American consumers and businesses. With Americans already feeling the pinch from high gas prices, these regulations stand to burden our country even further. I urge the EPA to consider the negative consequences that this rule could have on American families and our economy as a whole,” Senator Landrieu said.

The anticipated EPA Tier 3 standards for gasoline could increase the price of fuel nationwide and affect over 140 local refineries around the cournty, including the small businesses and communities who depend on them.