EPA Takes Action to Address MTBE Contamination

EPA will fund two $1 million pilot projects,in New York and California, to assist with the cleanup of\r\nthe gasoline additive MTBE in contaminated community water\r\nsupplies.

EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner yesterday announced that the Clinton-Gore Administration will fund two $1 million pilot projects, one each in New York and California, to assist with the cleanup of the gasoline additive MTBE in contaminated community water supplies.

"To protect public health and the environment, the Clinton-Gore Administration has called on Congress to eliminate MTBE from gasoline, and we''ve begun regulatory action aimed at phasing it out," said Browner. "However, in the meantime, action must be taken to help communities and prevent future problems from leaking tanks."

New York is being awarded $1 million to accelerate cleanup at 50 MTBE contaminated sites on Long Island.

The funds for Santa Monica, Calif., will be used to help the state and the city with the cleanup of MTBE contaminated groundwater.

MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether, is an additive in gasoline used by many refiners to meet a provision of the Clean Air Act that calls for the use of oxygenates in fuel.

In 1999, the Clinton-Gore Administration convened a Blue-Ribbon Panel to investigate if MTBE posed special risks to water supplies.

In the fall of 1999, the panel presented scientific proof confirming that MTBE threatens water supplies.

The administration subsequently called on Congress to phase down or eliminate MTBE. Regulatory action has also been taken to control the additive under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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