Eshoo Disappointed by EPA Decision -- Emphasizes failure of EPA decision to protect environment and

June 2, 2005
Press Release

June 2, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC -- Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) expressed great disappointment following the EPA's announcement today to deny California's request to waive the oxygenate mandate for gasoline. This waiver, sought by the state of California and Governor Schwarzenegger, and supported by more than 50 members of the California congressional delegation, was rejected today.

"The EPA's ill-advised decision will continue to increase the price Californians pay at the pump," remarked Rep. Eshoo. "Additionally, the sustained mandate will limit California's ability to effectively and efficiently reduce air pollution."

The oxygenate mandate was originally implemented in the Clean Air Act of 1990 to reduce air pollution. However, pollution in the ground water prompted California to ban the use of the oxygenate MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether), making the oxygenate rule tantamount to an ethanol mandate. California has the most stringent gasoline and air quality standards in the nation, but the ethanol mandate has actually hampered efforts to improve air quality.

The waiver request was originally filed by California over six years ago and, following the EPA's initial rejection in June of 2001, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sent the request back to the EPA for further consideration in October of 2003. In April of 2005, Representative Eshoo led 49 other members of Congress in sending a letter to the EPA urging the agency to make this request a top priority.

"As consumers, as citizens, we deserve better. The EPA fails to acknowledge evidence that its current standard is detrimental to the very goals the Agency claims to advance. Governor Schwarzenegger should take immediate action in the courts to overturn this decision. We must continue this fight on behalf of the environment and California's citizens."

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