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EPA Will Seek to Expedite Final Rule to Remove Allegheny County Summer Gas Requirement

05/10/2019
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PHILADELPHIA (May 10, 2019) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Friday that that it will seek to expedite a final rule that would remove requirements for Allegheny County to reduce gasoline volatility during summer months (summer gas).

“If no adverse comments are received on the proposal, EPA will seek to expedite a final rule as soon as possible,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “EPA is committed to working with our state and local partners for cleaner, healthier air and we do so with the very best intentions for Allegheny County residents and all Americans.” 

In the 1990s, both Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) and the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) adopted separate rules to control motor gasoline volatility during summer months in the 7-county Pittsburgh area and Allegheny County. These summer gas rules were federally approved as part of a state implementation plan (SIP) to help the area meet the health-based federal ozone standard.

In 2014, the General Assembly passed, and Governor Corbett signed legislation requiring PADEP to amend the SIP to remove the summer gas requirements.  Since then, EPA has worked closely with both PADEP and ACHD to help them revise Pennsylvania’s SIP to remove those requirements. 

ACHD has independent authority to address Allegheny County’s unique air quality problems.  In order for Allegheny County to have by now gotten out of the requirement to use summer gasoline, ACHD would have needed to submit their own rule revision before or at the same time PADEP would be submitting the state’s revised SIP for approval by EPA.  PADEP revised its gasoline Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) control rule in April 2018 and requested removal of the rule from the SIP in May 2018.  EPA finalized a removal action in December 2018. 

ACHD chose to wait until after PADEP’s rule change was finalized, submitting their SIP revision almost a year later than the state.  On April 12, 2019, EPA signed a proposed rule to approve removal of Allegheny County’s summer gasoline rule from the SIP.  The EPA rulemaking action was published in the Federal Register on April 26, 2019 and has a 30-day public comment period.  If no adverse comments are received on the proposal, EPA will seek expedited signature and publication of a final rule prior to the September 15 end of the summer fuel compliance season.