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EPA Waiver May Prevent Gas Shortage for Georgia

The federal agency temporarily relaxed environmental requirements for gas sold in the state to allow Gulf Coast refineries to resume normal production.

Remember those gas shortages after Hurricanes Ike and Gustav hit refineries in 2008? Did you wait in line to get gas at one of the few stations with gas? It appears that Hurricane Isaac won't have that affect, even though several fuel refineries were shut down by power outages and flooding.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted Gov. Nathan Deal's request and temporarily waived environmental requirements for gas sold in Georgia to avoid a potential shortage. 

The EPA granted the waiver through Sept. 15, which will give Gulf Coast fuel refineries time to resume normal production.

Members of the Georgia Petroleum Council predicted shortages of the cleaner burning, low volatility gasoline would occur within a week without relief from the requirements.

Federal regulations require all Georgia counties to use low volatility fuel in the summertime, according to a release from the Governor's Office, and they require an even more stringent standard in a 45-county region centered around Atlanta.

“This responsible action by the EPA will help protect Georgia residents and businesses from price spikes and panic caused by a shortage,” Deal said. “I commend Georgia Environmental Protection Division Director Jud Turner for his leadership on this issue, and the director and I will continue to work with the EPA in the event of an ongoing shortage.”

"Waiving these requirements will help ensure all residents and emergency response teams have access to gasoline when they pull up to the pump," said Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black. "We commend the EPA's decision to prevent gasoline shortages throughout the Southeast, and the state of Georgia continues to stand by in support of the recovery efforts from Hurricane Isaac."

Georgia will continue to monitor gasoline supplies and request an extension if it is determined the petroleum industry needs additional time to recover.

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