Browse Publications Technical Papers 2002-01-1268
2002-03-04

MTBE: Examining the Oxygenate Requirement and Remediation Costs: A Study in Science and Technology Policy Implementation 2002-01-1268

Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether, MTBE, has been used as an octane-enhancing additive in gasoline since the 1970's. With the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, MTBE was used to fulfill the 2% oxygenate requirement. MTBE use became widespread after the implementation of the reformulated gasoline (RFG) program in 1992. After concerns arose in 1996, studies linking MTBE with adverse health and environmental effects caused many states to examine MTBE usage. This study finds that the implementation of MTBE was performed with insufficient research concerning the health and environmental effects, and Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency relied too heavily upon industry data when creating and implementing the oxygenate requirement for RFG. Communities throughout the United States are now feeling the consequences of these hasty actions with MTBE contamination in groundwater and drinking water. Insufficient data exists concerning MTBE treatment to be able to arrive at an educated estimate for remediation costs, which are performed through state and local agencies.

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