EPA Determines That Pollution Is Okay in an Emergency

October 31, 2012 - 5:50 PM

nj sandy damage

Jim Snyder, 69, a Vietnam veteran and long time resident of Cedar Bonnet Island, NJ stands in his home's garage as he begins the process of cleaning up his damaged home in the wake of superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Robert Ray)

(CNSNews.com) - EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Wednesday afternoon announced that her agency has approved an "emergency fuel waiver” for New Jersey, exercising her authority under the Clean Air Act to temporarily waive federal “clean diesel” fuel requirements in the storm-devastated state.

This will allow the use of home heating oil in most generators and pumps.

In her letter to Gov. Chris Christie, Jackson wrote:

“I have received a request for a waiver under the Clean Air Act (CAA) made on your behalf to allow the use of high sulfur diesel fuel in mobile, nonroad generators or pumps used for emergency purposes.”

Jackson noted that Clean Air Act regulations require the use of ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel in "mobile, nonroad diesel engines," but the storm has produced shortages in parts of New Jersey.

"I have determined that an 'extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstance’ exists that will prevent the distribution of an adequate supply of ULSD fuel for use in mobile nonroad generators and pumps used for emergency purposes in New Jersey.”

Jackson also states that natural disaster "could not reasonably be foreseen or prevented, and is not attributable to a lack of prudent planning on the part of suppliers of the fuel to these areas."

Jackson says it's "in the public interest to grant this waiver"-- and the waiver "applies to the smallest geographic area necessary to address the fuel supply circumstances."

But -- with the wavier come conditions, including this one: "The non-ULSD fuel must be used in a model year 2010 or older model nonroad generator or pump...that is being used for emergency purposes." (See the full list of conditions here)

The waiver is good through Nov. 13 -- and if there's any non-USLD fuel remaining in the generator or pump after that date, the engine “may continue to be used until the fuel has been consumed.”