The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed regulations to tighten the standards controlling ozone emissions into the atmosphere could push a number of countries out of alignment with ozone standards and have strong implications for petroleum retailers, NACS reported.
As it stands now, retailers in severe non-attainment designations would be required to install stationary Stage II Vapor Recovery Equipment-a project that can total upwards of $50,000 per location.
NACS has asked EPA to take action to eliminate this requirement. The Clean Air Act provides for removal of the Stage II program once vehicles equipped with onboard vapor recovery systems are in “widespread use.” The definition of “widespread use” is left to the discretion of EPA, which has not yet finalized this definition.
The overwhelming majority of vehicles in the U.S. are equipped with onboard systems, which were required to be phased-in to the vehicle pool beginning with 40% of vehicles manufactured in 1998 and 100% of vehicles manufactured in 2000. But still, Stage II remains in effect.
“The latest projection of the achievement of widespread use acknowledged by EPA is 2015,” wrote NACS in its comments to the EPA. “As a result, the re-designation of an area as being in either severe or extreme non-attainment can trigger a legal requirement for the installation of equipment which is expensive, non-productive and completely duplicative of the on-board recovery equipment.”
NACS has requested that EPA make its declaration of widespread use as part of any final rule changing the ozone standards.