Smokey Joe Barton and Charles Bass Cut A Deal about Cancer-Causing MTBE-Leaves Consumers with the billSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


 

Smokey Joe Barton and Charles Bass Cut A Deal about Cancer-Causing MTBE-Leaves Consumers with the bill
 


22 July 2005 at 9:28:40 PM
salon

Today, Representatives Charles Bass and Joe Barton of the Energy Bill Conference Committee announced a proposed "deal" regarding the contentious MTBE "Safe Harbor" provision. The proposed "deal" would provide for the creation of an $11.43 billion fund to clean up water contamination from MTBE. It calls for approximately $4 billion to come from federal funds and $4 billion to come from MTBE manufacturers and distributors, and the rest from the states.

MTBE is currently classified by the EPA as a potential human carcinogen. Recent media reports indicate the existence of a draft EPA study that may in fact upgrade MTBE to a likely human carcinogen. MTBE has contaminated the water supplies of communities in over 36 states nationwide. Jack Hoffbuhr, Executive Director of the American Water Works Association (AWWA), issued the following statement.

"The deal announced today does not satisfy the requirements of the drinking water community. Any deal to address the extensive MTBE contamination of water supplies must include the following principles to be considered acceptable. First, no community should have to pay the cost of cleaning up MTBE contaminated water supplies. Second, any fund established must have the level of funds needed to fully clean up the contamination. The likely cost of removing contamination from community water supplies is between $25 and $85 billion - a far cry from the $11.4 billion proposed in this so-called deal.

"The proposed "deal" would exclude most of the nation's drinking water suppliers from even being eligible for action. It calls for a cleanup standard of 20-40 ppb of MTBE contamination, well in excess of the levels in which people can taste and smell MTBE, which can be as low as 1 ppb.

"Any agreement must be based on a sustainable and guaranteed source of funds, and not pass on clean-up costs to local governments, water consumers, and local taxpayers who did not cause this mess and should not be expected to pay for it to be cleaned. At a time of record oil industry profits, no bailout should be given to producers of MTBE. Taxpayers should simply not have to protect the oil industry for its responsibility to remove MTBE from water supplies.

"We believe the American public deserves better and cannot endorse a deal that will leave them footing the bill."

United States Conference of Mayors is Disappointed

WASHINGTON, July 22 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a statement of United States Conference of Mayors Executive Director Tom Cochran on the proposed MTBE deal:

"On behalf of the nation's mayors, I am extremely disappointed with the news of a proposed methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) deal between the U.S. House of Representatives Energy Committee Chairman Joe Barton (TX) and the industry producers of MTBE.

According to press statements, the industry will provide a one-time only contribution to a clean-up fund to be administered by the EPA. Not only is the fund woefully inadequate to cover the full costs of cleaning MTBE-contaminated sites, but also it will not cover the cost of cleaning the drinking water supply. Further, any monies not used from the fund will be returned back to the industry.

Most disturbing about this deal is that it was reached without any stakeholders responsible for the public health of their communities at the table. Not one member of the Conference of Mayors or other partner organizations was consulted or asked to participate in these discussions.

The Conference has consistently maintained that any deal must include full cost recovery to community water systems; cover the cost of cleaning drinking water, not just removing leaking tanks; include no unfunded mandate on local governments; include no bailout for MTBE producers; and ensure that cleanup funds are not be subjected to annual appropriations.

Once again, tax payers are being saddled with a cost that should be paid by the industry and the nation's mayors must find additional resources to cover yet another unfunded mandate.

This is simply bad policy."


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Comments

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