2003 Adopted Resolutions
71st Annual Meeting
Denver

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PROHIBITING LIABILITY PROTECTION FOR MTBE MANUFACTURERS

WHEREAS, Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) is a synthetic chemical used as an octane enhancer, lead substitute and more recently a vehicle emission reduction additive to gasoline in the United States since the late 1970s; and

WHEREAS, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 required urban areas that are in nonattainment for ozone to begin selling reformulated gasolines (RFG) designed to reduce emissions beginning in 1995. A main component of RFG is oxygen, which is added to gasoline primarily by two oxygenates -- MTBE and ethanol; and

WHEREAS, MTBE has contaminated large quantities of surface and ground water by releasing MTBE through leaking underground storage tanks and pipelines; and

WHEREAS, one cup of MTBE, the amount found in one gallon of gasoline oxygenated with MTBE, can contaminate an entire 5 million gallon well to the point of being undrinkable; and

WHEREAS, many states have banned MTBE or plan to phase it out due to water pollution concerns; and

WHEREAS, current remediation techniques to clean water contaminated with MTBE are both inadequate and extremely expensive; and

WHEREAS, a study by a California environmental engineering firm estimated it would cost $29 billion to clean up the 500 public drinking-water wells and 45,000 private wells across the country contaminated with MTBE in addition to the approximately 140,000 underground storage tanks still leaking gasoline containing the additive; and

WHEREAS, the U. S. House of Representatives adopted the Energy Policy Act of 2003, (H.R. 6) granting liability protection to MTBE manufacturers thereby potentially shifting the burden and cost of clean up to local governments,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Congress to not provide this liability protection for MTBE manufacturers.