As a result of the shutdown of the Buckeye Pipeline due to severe flooding, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has exercised its authority under the Clean Air Act to temporarily waive certain federal clean gasoline requirements for parts of Pennsylvania, according to an EPA news release issued today. The waiver is intended to allow greater flexibility for the fuel distribution system to support an adequate supply.

The waiver was granted by the EPA in coordination with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), at the request of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson determined that extreme and unusual supply circumstances exist, which are likely to result in a shortage of gasoline compliant with federal regulations.

The federal waiver will help ensure an adequate supply of gasoline in the affected area until normal supply to the region can be restored, the EPA reports. The waiver applies to 7.8-PSI low RVP requirements that apply in the Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley area. The waiver is effective for 20 days and allows the sale of 9.0 PSI conventional gasoline in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, Westmoreland counties.

As required by law, the EPA and DOE evaluated the situation and determined that granting a short-term waiver was consistent with the public interest, the EPA said. To mitigate any impacts on air quality the Clean Air Act provides strict criteria for when fuels waivers may be granted, and requires that waivers be limited as much as possible in terms of their geographic scope and duration.