EPA Issues Final Rule Paving the Way for Phase-Out of Stage II Vapor Recovery


Ira Wexler/NATSO

In a long-awaited rulemaking that marks a significant victory for fuel retailers, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that Stage II vapor recovery systems used at gas stations can be phased-out beginning in 2013 or earlier if certain criteria exists.

Removal of the Stage II requirement is estimated by the White House to save retailers $67 million per year. The petroleum industry has argued for years that requiring two technologies to control refueling vapors is duplicative and costly.

The rule will allow states to phase-out Stage II earlier than 2013 if data is presented that shows on-board vapor recovery canisters are already in “widespread use” within a specific geographic area. States can only phase out Stage II by submitting an amended state air quality implementation plan for approval – which can be a lengthy and complicated process.

The EPA is planning to streamline and speed up the amendment process through a new guidance document due out next month. EPA also has indicated the guidance will address how Stage II can be phased out in the Ozone Transport Region (OTR). In the OTR, EPA will not require new emission reductions to offset the removal of Stage II. Instead state regulators must show that removal of Stage II does not result in an emissions increase of more than 10 percent, a reduced regulatory hurdle to overcome.


This article originally ran in NATSO News Weekly (NNW), NATSO's member only weekly electronic newsletter. NNW is packed with the latest updates on government and business issues affecting the truckstop and travel plaza industry.

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