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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: Feb. 19, 1999
99/14
CONTACT: Peter Page
609-777-1344

DEP WELCOMES EPA CLEAN FUEL RULE PROPOSAL

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Shinn today announced that he is withdrawing a proposed low-emission gasoline rule because a rule proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exceeds even the stringent requirements that New Jersey would have required.

"Our proposed rule has brought the need for cleaner gasoline to the attention of the EPA and the international petroleum industry,'' Shinn said. "Our rule, at the state level, is no longer necessary to accomplish our goal.''

Shinn cited the EPA rule making, a recent decision by the Ozone Transport Commission to consider a clean fuel for the entire Northeast and cooperation from some major refiners as the factors that led him to conclude a state rule is no longer needed.

"It was never our preference to act independently on regulating gasoline but because we took the lead we have brought others into the fold,'' Shinn said. "It is best for New Jersey and the nation that EPA is setting a national clean gasoline standard."

The EPA is expected to announce very soon a national rule, to take effect in 2004, that will limit the sulfur content of gasoline to 30 parts per million. The proposed New Jersey rule would have set a 40 part per million sulfur standard. High sulfur content in gasoline has long been recognized as the major stumbling block to further reductions in tailpipe emissions because of the negative impact sulfur has on catalytic converters.

At the regional level, the Ozone Transport Commission, which comprises the 12 northeastern states from Virginia to Maine, plus the District of Columbia, is exploring adoption of a regulation, modeled on New Jersey's proposed gasoline fuel rule, that would bring cleaner gasoline to the entire Northeast. A recommendation from the OTC Mobile Source Committee is expected in June.

Shinn lauded a recent decision by BP Amoco to voluntarily market low sulfur fuel in 40 of the world's most polluted cities this year and, within five years, at all its service stations worldwide. The DEP has had constructive and cooperative discussions with Sun Oil, Coastal and Tosco about incentives and voluntary actions by them to bring clean fuel to market.

"Over the past ten years we have made steady progress in the battle against summertime ozone air pollution,'' Shinn said. "In 1988 we exceeded the federal standard for ground level ozone 45 times. In the summer of 1998 we exceeded the standard four times, despite dramatic increases in industrial activity, the number of cars on New Jersey roads and the number of miles those cars are driven each day. The movement toward marketing cleaner fuel is essential for bringing to market the cleaner cars we need to continue this positive trend over the next ten years.":

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