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Senators Ask Obama for New Gasoline Emission Standards

By Mary Silver
Epoch Times Staff
Created: November 29, 2012 Last Updated: December 4, 2012
Related articles: United States » National News
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In this file photo, a gasoline tanker drives near the Chevron refinery in Richmond, Calif., in 2011. Some legislators want new rules regulating gasoline content, and others oppose new rules. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In this file photo, a gasoline tanker drives near the Chevron refinery in Richmond, Calif., in 2011. Some legislators want new rules regulating gasoline content, and others oppose new rules. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A group of Democratic senators asked President Barack Obama to push new rules for gasoline. 

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to the president on Nov. 29, in which she said, “We are writing to strongly urge you to take an important step to improve human health and stimulate job creation by proposing the so-called Tier 3 emission and fuel standards in 2012 and adopting them promptly thereafter. The health benefits associated with the Tier 3 proposal are well established.”

Lowering emissions would reduce premature deaths from heart attacks, asthma, and other lung ailments, according to the letter. 

“A recent study by Navigant Economics stated that these health benefits have an estimated value of $5–$6 billion annually by 2020 and $10–$11 billion annually by 2030,” reads the letter. Navigant Economics is an economic consulting firm.

Gillibrand is a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. 

Soon-to-retire Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) signed the letter along with 11 Democratic senators: Patty Murray (Wash.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Robert Menendez (N.J.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), John Kerry (Mass.), and Sherrod Brown (Ohio).

A formal proposal for Tier 3 standards would most likely ask producers to lower the sulfur content in fuel to 10 parts per million. It would require new catalytic converters on vehicles.

“Tier 3 will create over 24,000 new jobs over three years for equipment installation at the nation’s refineries.”

—Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

Obama told the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prepare a Tier 3 proposal in 2010 as part of that year’s new vehicle efficiency standards, but the agency has not yet prepared such a proposal.

According to the petroleum industry and some Republican lawmakers, reducing sulfur in gas would cost jobs and spike the cost of fuel by 9 cents per gallon. 

House Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) introduced a bill, H.R. 910, to forbid the EPA from introducing new rules for gas or energy. 

In a statement on his official website, Whitfield said that his bill “would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing regulations on emissions outside of their authority and without consulting Congress. … I also plan to examine other proposed regulations from the EPA that will drive up energy costs and issues related to electricity transmission, nuclear power and responsible domestic resource development.”

Howard Feldman, director of regulatory and scientific affairs at the American Petroleum Institute (API), stated on the API website that regulations can pose “threats to the economy such as EPA’s imposition of greenhouse gas emissions standards for refineries, further reduction in gasoline sulfur levels, and tightening of the already protective fine particle air quality standards. We urge the White House to eliminate them.” 

The senators’ letter to the president stated that lowering sulfur emissions would raise the cost of gas by only 1 cent per gallon, and the work of implementing the change would create jobs.” Adding new converters should add about $150 to the cost of a new car, according to the senators.

Gillibrand wrote that the Navigant study found that “Tier 3 will create over 24,000 new jobs over three years for equipment installation at the nation’s refineries. Another 5,300 jobs will be created by the operation and maintenance of this new equipment.”

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