Move by EPA Will Help Facilitate Fuel Distribution and Maintain Availability

August 31, 2005 WASHINGTON, DC ñ Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, issued the following statement today applauding the Bush Administrationís decision to grant emergency fuel waivers for the four Gulf Coast states, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, suffering the impacts of Hurricane Katrina, and encouraging an even broader application to regions across the country that may feel the ripple effects from the fuel challenges created by the hurricane: ìFirst, my heart goes out to all of the hurricane victims, and I am proud to see the outpouring of support from around the country. Tragedies like this only demonstrate the strength of our union and the mettle of all Americans. Rest assured that once we can assess the impacts, what worked and what went wrong, the Environment and Public Works Committee will look at ways to provide relief and improve infrastructure to help prevent some of the challenges the Gulf Coast has endured over the last several days. ìI am pleased that the Administration has decided to grant emergency fuel waivers for the four coastal states suffering the hurricaneís impacts. The EPA has determined that this is an ëextreme and unusual fuel supply circumstance,í and it is. The EPAís decision will facilitate the distribution of fuel in the Gulf region by temporarily allowing distributors to supply fuel meeting a Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) standard of 9.0 psi where lower standards are required, and allows the distribution of fuel with a sulfur content higher than normally required. These actions will help ensure the availability of fuel to consumers in the region as the effects of the hurricane are addressed. I would encourage the Administration to consider an even broader view to include regions across the country that could feel ripple effects. ìThe effects of the hurricane point to an urgent need for greater harmonization of our national energy and environmental policies. Each affects the other. To maintain an adequate fuel supply and to keep prices stable, we simply must expand our nationís refining capacity. I am pleased that tax provisions in the energy bill signed by President Bush will help encourage such expansion.î