EPA Grants Fuel Waivers for Parts of Florida Affected by Hurricanes
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), working with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, announced on September 3 that it has determined that shortages of diesel fuel and gasoline due to the approach of Hurricane Frances require a waiver of certain fuel requirements under the Clean Air Act.The EPA is exercising its enforcement discretion to temporarily allow regulated parties to supply motor vehicle diesel fuel exceeding the sulfur content standard for highway use under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The Agency is permitting the waivers for all vehicles in the state, but the major concern was that shortages of diesel fuel could impair the ability of emergency vehicles and utility repair vehicles to respond to damage from Hurricane Charley as well as that anticipated from Hurricane Frances.In addition, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Broward, Dade, Duval and Palm Beach counties, which are required to sell gasoline meeting a strict vapor standard during the May to September high ozone season, may sell non-compliant gasoline. These waivers will be in effect until midnight Sept. 7, 2004. However, retail outlets or wholesale purchase consumers who receive the non-compliant fuels may continue selling it or dispensing it until their supplies are depleted. In connection with the waivers, the EPA also notes that the Internal Revenue Service has announced that high-sulfur diesel fuel, used in off- road vehicles and usually not taxed, must be taxed as fuel designated for highway use.