API Urges White House to Keep Current Ozone Standards

The American Petroleum Institute (API), along with dozens of organizations from more than thirty states, has sent a letter to the White House opposing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) proposal to make ozone standards more stringent.  The new ozone standards that EPA is considering “could significantly damage the economy by imposing unachievable emissions limits and reduction targets on almost every part of our country,” the letter to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said, adding that states are already committing “substantial resources” towards achieving emissions reductions under current standards.

On November 26, 2014, EPA proposed stricter ground-level ozone (often referred to as “smog”) standards.  If finalized, the proposal would lower both the primary (health-based) and secondary (welfare-based) standards from the current 75 parts per billion (ppb) to somewhere in a range of 65 to 70 ppb. The proposed standards would result in a significant increase in the number of counties found in serious, severe, or extreme non-attainment with ozone standards. This designation could trigger a number of enhanced regulatory burdens and supply disruptions.

This topic is particularly significant for fuel retailers because stricter standards for ground-level ozone may lead to enhanced ozone control measures, including the introduction of reformulated gasoline (RFG) in what are now conventional gasoline areas.  It could also prompt more states to impose stricter Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) requirements in order to satisfy the lower standards.  This could introduce new complexities into the motor fuel market and ultimately increase the price consumers pay at the pump.

EPA is under court-order to issue a final decision on whether to retain or strengthen current ozone standards by October 1, 2015.

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David Fialkov

David Fialkov is the Vice President of Government Relations, as well as the Legislative and Regulatory Counsel, at NATSO. In this capacity, Mr. Fialkov directs NATSO's legislative, regulatory, and legal strategy on a range of issues, including transportation, energy and fuels, labor, data security, and taxes. Mr. Fialkov also oversees NATSO's political engagement program, including individualized legal and political counsel to member companies. Prior to joining NATSO, Mr. Fialkov was the senior associate in the Government Affairs and Public Policy practice at the law firm of Steptoe and Johnson in Washington, D.C. At Steptoe, Mr. Fialkov advised clients on legislative, regulatory, and political issues, as well as legal concerns. His primary clients included trade associations representing the motor fuel wholesale and retail industries, including the National Association of Convenience Stores and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America. Mr. Fialkov's focus was not only on the motor fuels business, but also the litany of other issues that retailers confront, including labor matters, foodservice issues, healthcare and employment issues, tax matters and data security. Prior to joining Steptoe, Mr. Fialkov graduated with honors from George Washington University Law School. He received his B.S. Summa cum laude with highest honors from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Allison and daughter Lilah. More
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