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EPA Approves Emergency Fuel Waiver for Puerto Rico

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WASHINGTON (September 26, 2017) – In response to Hurricane Maria, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt today approved a request from Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló for an emergency fuel waiver.

To minimize or prevent disruptions with the supply of diesel fuel for mobile nonroad generators and pumps used for emergency purposes, the EPA waived the diesel requirements through October 15, 2017, allowing the sale, distribution, and use of heating oil and marine fuel designated for use in Emission Control Areas (ECA marine fuel) that exceed the 15 parts per million (ppm) sulfur standard if the fuel meets certain conditions.

The waiver includes a warning that the use of diesel fuel exceeding the 15 ppm sulfur standard in any engine equipped with exhaust after treatment emission controls (e.g., diesel particulate filter) may cause serious damage to the engine and its emissions control components.

The waiver authority was exercised under the Clean Air Act and was granted by EPA Administrator Pruitt, in coordination with the U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.

As required by law, EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE) evaluated the situation and determined that granting a short-term waiver was consistent with the public interest. EPA and DOE are continuing to actively monitor the fuel supply situation as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and will act expeditiously if extreme and unusual supply circumstances exist in other areas.

To mitigate any impacts on air quality, the Clean Air Act provides strict criteria for when fuels waivers may be granted, and requires that waivers be limited as much as possible in terms of their geographic scope and duration.

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