2004 Adopted Resolutions
72nd Annual Meeting
Boston

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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 in nonattainment for ozone to begin selling reformulated gasolines (RFG) designed to reduce emissions beginning in1995. 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; and

     WHEREAS, The comprehensive energy bill (S. 2095) currently stalled in the U. S. Senate does not contain language that provides the producers of MTBE liability protection; and

     WHEREAS, the U. S. House of Representatives leadership has pledged to include MTBE liability protection language in any energy bill that emerges from a House-Senate energy conference committee,

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors reaffirms its strong opposition to provisions in the House energy bill (H.R. 6) or any other legislative vehicle that would provide producers of MTBE with product liability immunity (“safe harbor”); and

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