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NO. 26.  AN ACT RELATING TO PROHIBITING THE SALE AND STORAGE OF FUEL PRODUCTS CONTAINING THE ADDITIVE MTBE.

(H.188)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

(a)  Methyl tertiary butyl ether (“MTBE”), the most common oxygenate added to gasoline and other fuel products used in the state and throughout the United States, may leak into and contaminate groundwater supplies.

(b)  MTBE is water soluble and, therefore, difficult and costly to remove from water.

(c)  MTBE, while colorless, has a turpentine-like taste and smell which can be detected at extremely low concentrations.

(d)  MTBE and other chemically similar oxygenates may be human carcinogens and pose other potential health risks, including, but not limited to, memory loss, asthma, and skin irritation.

(e)  As water is a precious and vital resource to the state’s growing population, agricultural and tourism industries, and unique environment, it is imperative that the state halt further contamination and pollution of the state’s groundwater supplies by potentially harmful oxygenates.

(f)  Underground storage tanks that leak, motor boats on our lakes that discharge fuel, junkyards with autos and trucks and motor vehicle accidents can lead to gasoline with MTBE leaking into the soils and entering our water supplies.

(g)  Two Vermont communities, Craftsbury Fire District #2 and the Town of Hartland, have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of MTBE, and in New Hampshire, the state and two communities have actions pending.

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 577 is added to read:

§ 577.  PROHIBITION ON ADDITION OF GASOLINE ETHERS TO FUEL

            PRODUCTS

(a)  Effective January 1, 2007, no person shall knowingly sell at retail in this state, sell for use in this state, or store in an underground or aboveground storage tank in this state any fuel product that contains a gasoline ether in a quantity greater than one-half of one percent per volume.  Nothing in this subdivision shall be interpreted to prohibit the transshipment of a fuel product containing a gasoline ether in a quantity greater than one-half of one percent per volume through the state for disposition outside the state.  Transshipment does not include the storage of a fuel product coincident to shipment.

(b)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Ether” means an organic compound formed by the treatment of an alcohol with a dehydrating agent resulting in two organic radicals joined by an oxygen atom.

(2)  “Fuel product” means gasoline, reformulated gasoline, benzene, benzol, diesel fuel, kerosene, or any other volatile and inflammable liquid that is produced, compounded, offered for sale, or used to generate power in an internal combustion engine.

(3)  “Gasoline ether” means any ether added to a fuel product, including methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), tertiary amyl methyl ether (TAME), di‑isopropyl ether (DIPE), and ethyl butyl ether (ETBE).  “Gasoline ether” shall not include prepackaged goods intended for retail use, including starting fluid and octane booster.

Sec. 3.  AGENCY OF NATURAL RESOURCES REPORT

By January 15, 2006, the agency of natural resources shall report to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy with a recommendation regarding the need to ban the sale of gasoline containing alcohols used as oxygenates.  The report shall include a summary of available data addressing environmental and health effects of alcohols used as gasoline oxygenates, with specific reference, when data is available, to the following alcohols:  methanol, isopropanol, n-propanol, n-butanol, iso-butanol, sec‑butanol, tertiary‑butanol, and tertiary pentanol.  The report shall also include an evaluation of the potential impacts that restricting the use of alcohols as oxygenates would have on the production, price, and supply of gasoline in the region and Vermont.


Sec. 4.  10 V.S.A. § 561(a) is amended to read:

(a)  A person who owns or is in control of any plant, building, structure, process, or equipment may apply to the secretary for a variance from the rules adopted under this chapter.  If a request for a variance is related to an application for a permit under this chapter, the applicant may file that request only after the secretary has issued a declaratory ruling that makes it clear that the applicant would not be eligible for the permit or after the secretary has granted or denied the permit, according to the provisions of subsection 562(e) of this title.  The secretary may grant a variance if the secretary finds that:

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Approved:  May 23, 2005



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us