Enforcement Suspended for Facilities in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley Areas
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that effective November 12, 2016, it will no longer enforce the Stage II vapor recovery requirement for new or modified gasoline dispensing equipment.
Stage II vapor recovery systems are required for approximately 1,600 gasoline dispensing facilities in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Delaware, Fayette, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Washington, and Westmoreland counties. However, diminishing emission reduction benefits of Stage II controls no longer justify the cost of installing these controls on new gasoline dispensers and dispenser replacements.
The Department has completed its analysis of the benefits associated with this program based on guidance issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which authorized states to remove the requirements if doing so will not interfere with attaining or maintaining ozone standards. DEP has determined that the emission reduction benefits of the program are gradually diminishing and will approach zero for all areas of the Commonwealth in 2018. Any emission increases that occur from this waiver are expected to be very minor with regard to ozone attainment in these areas.
“As newer-model vehicles begin to replace older automobiles, onboard vapor recovery is proving to be increasingly more effective than these Stage II ‘at the pump’ systems,” said Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “The diminishing benefits simply do not outweigh the costs of these old systems.”
For owners and operators of gasoline dispensing facilities with Stage II vapor control systems in place to meet the State II requirements, the Department will continue to require operation and maintenance of those systems. This suspension only pertains to new gasoline dispensers and dispenser replacements.
The Department’s exercise of enforcement discretion does not protect an owner or operator of a gasoline dispensing facility from the possibility of legal challenge by third parties. More information is available in the PA Bulletin here: http://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol46/46-46/1952.html.