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EPA Approves Hurricane-Related Waiver for Georgia

As a result of the disruption in the supply of fuel caused by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, EPA has temporarily waived certain Georgia-specific requirements approved under the Clean Air Act for gasoline in 45 counties in and around Atlanta.

The waiver will allow for the importation, distribution and sale of gasoline that does not meet low-sulfur gasoline requirements contained in Georgia’s federally-approved state implementation plan. Also waived are certain testing, reporting and record keeping requirements applicable to new importers of gasoline to the Atlanta area under Georgia’s state plan. This waiver does not change the requirement that gasoline imported, sold or distributed in this area meet federal gasoline sulfur requirements.

The waiver is in effect in the following counties: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gordon, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Jackson, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Lumpkin, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Putnam, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Upson and Walton.

The waiver will continue through 12 October. Retail outlets and wholesalers that receive conventional gas under this waiver may continue selling or dispensing this fuel after 12 October until their supplies are depleted.

More than a dozen refineries were forced to shutdown or curtail operations due to Gustav and Ike, the area’s refining capacity has yet to fully recover.

According to the 23 September update from the US Minerals Management Service, Ike destroyed 23 manned platforms. Personnel are still evacuated from 203 production platforms, equivalent to 29.3% of the remaining 694 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

From operators’ reports, approximately 66.8% of the oil production in the Gulf is still shut-in. As of June 2008, estimated oil production from the Gulf of Mexico is 1.3 million barrels of oil per day. It is also estimated that approximately 61.6% of the natural gas production in the Gulf is shut-in. As of June 2008, estimated natural gas production from the Gulf of Mexico was 7.0 billion cubic feet of gas per day. Since that time, gas production from the Independence Hub facility has increased and current gas production from the Gulf is estimated at 7.4 billion cubic feet of gas per day.

According to the 23 September update from the US Department of Energy, 1,698,220 barrels per day of refining capacity remains shutdown due to Ike, mainly in the Port Arthur and Houston/Galveston area.

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