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Harrisburg, U.S.A. — The Department of Environmental Protection have announced it will not enforce a requirement for new gas stations to install costly vapor recovery systems.
Current regulations require facilities in southeast and southwest Pennsylvania to maintain vapor recovery systems, which are attached to gas pump nozzles to siphon off fumes while pumping gasoline.
A notice regarding the issue has been submitted for publication in this week’s Pennsylvania Bulletin.
“These so-called Stage II vapor recovery systems must still be operated and maintained at existing facilities until further notice,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “We will, however, use our discretion to not enforce these requirements for any new gas station in the greater Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas because the diminishing benefits do not justify the cost of installing new systems.”
There are also gas stations in the southeast and southwest regions of the state that could become subject to the rules for the first time because of an increase in their business. Krancer explained that DEP will use the same discretion to not enforce the mandate for those stations.
Vapor recovery systems are required for about 1,600 gasoline-dispensing facilities in Allegheny,Armstrong, Beaver, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Delaware, Fayette, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
On July 5, Governor Tom Corbett signed into law Act 135. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Elder Vogel (R-47), amended the Air Pollution Control Act to direct DEP to review its current compliance strategy of utilizing low Reid Vapor Pressure gasoline during the summer ozone season to comply with federal ozone air quality standards. The law also directs DEP to seek waivers from this requirement in the event of a fuel supply disruption.
Because recent models of most vehicles include vapor recovery technology in the cars and trucks themselves, EPA is allowing states that can demonstrate widespread fleet turnover to remove from their State Implementation Plans Stage II vapor recovery requirements for gasoline-dispensing facilities once state regulations are repealed.
EPA issued guidance on August 7 that will help DEP determine what, if any, additional requirementsPennsylvania will need to implement in order to repeal the Stage II requirements and revise its State Implementation Plan.
“Gas station owners should note that DEP’s enforcement discretion does not protect an owner or operator from potential legal challenges by third parties,” Krancer said.
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