$2 Million Approved for MTBE Cleanups in California, New York

July 14, 2000

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to fund two $1 million pilot projects, one each in New York and California, to assist with the cleanup of the gasoline additive MTBE in contaminated community water supplies. Areas of Long Island, New York, and Santa Monica, California, are among those communities most affected by MTBE contamination.

"To protect public health and the environment, the Clinton-Gore Administration has called on Congress to eliminate MTBE from gasoline, and we've begun regulatory action aimed at phasing it out," EPA Administrator Carol Browner said. "However, in the meantime, action must be taken to help communities already affected by MTBE leaks. Today, we are providing additional funding to help New York and California remove MTBE contamination in affected communities and prevent future problems from leaking tanks."

New York is being awarded $1 million to accelerate cleanup at 50 MTBE-contaminated sites on Long Island. The funds for Santa Monica will be used to help the state and the city with the cleanup of MTBE contaminated groundwater.

MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether, is a gasoline additive used by many fuel refiners to meet a provision of the Clean Air Act that calls for the use of oxygenates in fuels. The additive helps fuel burn more completely, resulting in less air pollution from tailpipe emissions.

Last year, a panel convened by the White House presented scientific proof confirming that MTBE threatens drinking water supplies. The Administration then called on Congress to phase down or eliminate MTBE. The Administration also has begun regulatory action to control MTBE under the Toxics Substances Control Act.

SOURCE: Environment News Service

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