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DER PROPOSES NEW CLEAN AIR REGULATION TO MEET FEDERAL DEADLINE

 DER PROPOSES NEW CLEAN AIR REGULATION TO MEET FEDERAL DEADLINE
 HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Environmental Resources Secretary Arthur A. Davis today proposed requiring most gasoline stations in the 13 Pennsylvania counties with the poorest air quality to install vapor recovery nozzles by November 1992 so that the state can meet minimum federal air quality standards and avoid automatic sanctions and the loss of millions of dollars in federal funds.
 Davis withdrew the Department of Environmental Resources' (DER) more ambitious regulatory proposal to reduce ozone pollution, known as Stage II controls, which was rejected by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) and the Pennsylvania Senate.
 DER's previous proposal satisfied the immediate federal ozone- control requirements, requiring Stage II ozone controls in severe or moderate non-attainment areas in the next year. It also addressed subsequent federal ozone-control requirements by requiring most gasoline stations in Pennsylvania to be equipped with vapor recovery systems by 1996.
 "IRRC and the Senate cost us valuable time, and now we're racing against the clock to meet the federal requirements," Davis said. "What I am proposing today is little more than a stop-gap measure to meet the immediate federal requirements and prevent a crippling loss of federal funds for Pennsylvania, not to mention severe restrictions on economic development and other debilitating sanctions."
 If Stage II controls are not in place in moderate and severe nonattainment areas this year, Pennsylvania faces sanctions and the loss of up to $450 million annually in federal highway money.
 "In all candor, we're extremely frustrated by the way IRRC and the Senate have forestalled our attempts to improve our air quality," Davis said. "Pennsylvania eventually will need a statewide Stage II program that goes beyond the 13 counties, similar to what DER had envisioned, because Gov. Casey and I believe that clean air for Pennsylvanians should come sooner, not later."
 A statewide Stage II program, estimated to cut by 97 percent the emissions from refueling of cars, trucks and buses, was part of a plan Gov. Robert P. Casey unveiled in September to reduce air pollution.
 The DER will present its new Stage II proposal for final approval at the Environmental Quality Board's meeting Dec. 17. If approved, the regulation would move to IRRC for further consideration.
 The department also is drafting an amendment to the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Act, now before the General Assembly, to enable DER to impose Stage II controls required by the federal government in other areas of the state without having to go through the lengthy regulatory process.
 "That will give Pennsylvania the flexibility it needs to quickly and efficiently meet federal requirements for cleaning up our air," Davis said.
 Under the federal Clean Air Act, Pennsylvania must impose Stage II controls by Nov. 15, 1992, in five counties classified by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as severe ozone nonattainment areas and in the eight counties classified as moderate ozone nonattainment areas.
 The federal Clean Air Act also requires ozone levels in the 13 counties -- Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Delaware, Fayette, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Washington and Westmoreland -- to be cut by 15 percent by November 1996 or the state faces hefty sanctions.
 As a member of the Northeast Ozone Transport Region, Pennsylvania is further required by the federal standards to impose statewide State II or comparable emission controls identified by EPA by Nov. 15, 1994.
 Stage II controls are the most cost-effective controls available to the commonwealth, Davis said.
 The proposed regulation would require all gasoline stations in the 13 counties that pump more than 100,000 gallons of gasoline a month to install the special nozzles within a year. Gasoline stations in those counties that pump more than 10,000 gallons a month must comply within two years.
 Vapor recovery nozzles use a rubber sleeve that prevent the escape of gasoline vapors into the air during automobile refueling.
 The vapors are composed of volatile organic compounds which, when heated by the sun, combine with other airborne contaminants to form ozone, a lung and eye irritant that may be harmful after lengthy exposure especially to the young and older people. Last summer, nearly half of the commonwealth's citizens were subject to unhealthy ozone levels.
 /delval/
 -0- 11/25/91
 /CONTACT: Justin Supon of the Department of Environmental Resources, 717-787-1323/ CO: Department of Environmental Resources ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


CC -- PH045 -- 7069 11/25/91 17:29 EST
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Date:Nov 25, 1991
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