News Releases from Region 01
Southern Maine Counties Included in the Federal Reformulated Gasoline Program
BOSTON - At the request of the State of Maine, EPA has finalized a rule requiring the sale of reformulated gasoline (RFG) in York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Androscoggin, Kennebec, Knox and Lincoln counties in southern Maine. Starting June 1, 2015, only RFG may be sold to consumers in these southern Maine counties.
The purpose of the federal RFG program is to improve air quality in certain areas through the use of gasoline that is reformulated to reduce motor vehicle emissions that lead to the formation of ground-level ozone. Ground-level ozone can cause breathing problems, aggravate asthma and other pre-existing lung diseases, and make people more susceptible to respiratory infection.
In 2013, the State of Maine enacted a law establishing the use of RFG in the southern Maine counties beginning May 1, 2014. The Maine legislature subsequently postponed the requirement for sale of RFG until June 1, 2015. EPA is requiring that sale of RFG be required for refiners, importers, and distributors by May 1, 2015, and for retailers and wholesale purchasers-consumers by June 1, 2015.
"The use of RFG in many areas of New England has contributed to cleaner air in the Region," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "We are pleased that Maine also wants to implement this measure in its southern counties."
EPA initially proposed this requirement on Aug. 28, 2014 in response to a request from Maine Governor Paul R. LePage. No comments were received on the proposed rule, thus the EPA is finalizing the rule as proposed.
Maine's request to opt-in to the RFG program was in response to an industry group's interest in having a common fuel throughout many areas in New England. The Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection expects that this initiative will continue to enhance protection of Maine's citizens by minimizing ozone precursor emissions, which will help maintain attainment of the federal ozone air quality standard.
In conjunction with this rule, EPA has also updated its RFG regulation to make it consistent with a Clean Air Act provision which requires that areas such as Maine that are within the ozone transport region and choose to opt into the RFG program must remain in the program for a minimum of four years.
More information on RFG rule for Maine and related documents (www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/gasolinefuels/rfg/regulations.htm#opt)