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June 20, 2000

Ryan Urges Immediate US EPA Action to Reduce Gas Prices

WASHINGTON, DC — Governor George H. Ryan today renewed his call for the US Environmental Protection Agency to grant a temporary suspension of the new Reformulated Gasoline Program (RFG) requirements while stressing that the agency has the authority to grant this request immediately.

"It is clear that the US EPA has the power to grant a temporary waiver which would immediately ease the burden felt by Illinois consumers," Ryan said.

Ryan also repeated his request that the US EPA immediately act on a proposal that recognizes the environmental benefits of ethanol in the Reformulated Gasoline Program. The proposal would make it easier for refiners to blend the environmentally friendly gasoline used throughout the Chicagoland area.

"What is most troubling to me is that US EPA tells us that they cannot take action on this proposal short of its normal administrative procedures, when it is clear they have the authority to propose a direct-final rule to implement this common sense proposal and provide real benefits to Illinois consumers," Ryan added. "In fact, US EPA invented direct-final rulemakings in the 1980s and since that time has issued hundreds of such rulemakings. US EPA should have acted on this months ago.

"While I have never claimed to have all the answers, I do know that inaction is no solution," Speaker Hastert said in a statement released last week. "Consumers are hurting and need relief right now. The EPA should listen."

"We have been working non-stop with Speaker Hastert and the Illinois Congressional Delegation to find a long term common sense solution that the US EPA could take to help people in throughout the Midwest," Ryan added.

In anticipation that Phase II RFG rules would make it more costly to produce blend stocks for ethanol, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency last year submitted to US EPA a comprehensive analysis that justified a environmentally sound proposal that recognizes the positive benefits of ethanol.

The proposal recognizes the added reductions in carbon monoxide (CO) emissions gained by using ethanol in the RFG program. Unfortunately, this proposal has been ignored by US EPA.

Prior to the new rules taking affect, Ryan and other Midwest governors warned that the new production rules were untested and it was unknown what the new requirements would mean for the environment or consumer prices.

In May of 1999 Ryan wrote EPA Administrator Carol Browner warning her about the uncertainties of the new RFG program rules and asked for a delay in it’s implementation. In December of 1999, Ryan and other members of the Governor's Ethanol Coalition sent a letter to Vice President Gore and again requested a delay the new RFG rules.

In addition, Ryan sent a letter to the vice president asking for a delay in the new rules to prevent "fuel price fluctuations for the consumer." In March of this year Ryan and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley sent a letter to President Clinton asking that the new RFG rules be delayed.



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