EPA Allows New Hampshire to Opt Out of MtBE Plan

But This Motion May Not Change Anything

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is giving preliminary acceptance to Hew Hampshire's plan to opt out of a program requiring gasoline sold in southern New Hampshire to contain MtBE.

The proposal allows the use of alternative clean-burning gasoline blends that don't contain MtBE. The problem is, no gasoline suppliers are making those kinds of blends, said Kent Finemore of the state Department of Environmental Services (DES). It's unlikely any supplier will make a special gasoline blend for New Hampshire's relatively small market, he said.

"(The EPA decision) is probably not going change what we get in terms of gasoline in the short term," he said.

New Hampshire is not the only state to consider making such a proposal to EPA. However, other states have decided to take other approaches, thus lessening the pressure that could have been put on gasoline companies to produce alternative gasoline blends.

DES supports legislation sponsored by Sen. Russell Prescott, a Kingston Republican, which would propose an alternate way to reduce air pollution and get out of the requirement to use MtBE gasoline.

Under Prescott's bill, the state would adopt new rules designed to reduce ozone by requiring clean industrial and architectural coatings, solvents and portable fuel containers.

Finemore said that, as these cleaner products are already available in other states, getting approval would not be difficult. If the EPA accepts the alternate plan, the state could return to selling gas containing little or no MtBE.

Concord Monitor

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