Alexander, Corker Send Letter in Support of Tennessee's Request for Waiver of EPA Regulations to Ease Shelby County Gas Shortage

Posted on August 11, 2011

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker (both R-Tenn.) today announced that they have sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson in support of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s request for a waiver of regulations on summer blend gasoline in Shelby County in the wake of a fire at the Memphis Valero gasoline refinery, which has led to a shortage in the seasonal blend.

The full text of the letter follows:            

Dear Administrator Jackson,

We are writing in support of the state of Tennessee’s request for an immediate waiver of the gasoline Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) summertime limit of 7.8 psi for Shelby County, Tennessee, as required by regulations in 40 CRF part 80.  On August 5, a fire severely damaged the Valero oil refinery in Memphis causing it to shut down.  The Valero refinery is the primary provider of transportation fuels to the greater Memphis market, and this event leaves the Memphis-Shelby County, Tennessee market with an extremely short supply of 7.8 psi compliant gasoline.  All 427 retail gas stations in Shelby County are reporting low inventories of 7.8 psi gasoline. 

In the event of a fuel supply emergency, EPA, with the concurrence of the U.S. Department of Energy, may temporarily waive a fuel or fuel additive requirement if doing so would alleviate the fuel supply emergency.  Shelby County, which includes Memphis, is home to over one million Tennesseans and is one of our nation’s most important freight transportation hubs.  The waiver would ensure that a gasoline shortage does not severely disrupt the daily lives of West Tennesseans and economic activity in the greater Memphis area.

The waiver would allow 9.0 psi gasoline to be brought into Shelby County from surrounding areas and sold for a period of 20 days, the maximum length of time under statute.  As all surrounding counties are under a 9.0 psi vapor pressure maximum, the waiver would only apply to Shelby County, Tennessee.

We appreciate your immediate attention to this critical matter. 

# # #