WASHINGTON, D.C. (KDKA) — The Environmental Protection Agency has approved Allegheny County’s request for an emergency fuel waiver, effective immediately.

The temporary waiver, issued Wednesday by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, is in response to damage to the Buckeye Laurel Pipeline, which distributes low volatility gas to the area.

“Gasoline prices in Allegheny County could go up anywhere from three cents to as much as 50 cents a gallon, maybe even more,” said Don Bowers, Vice President of Pennsylvania Petroleum Association. “If there are no waivers in place, it could be a big problem for drivers in Allegheny County where they’ll have to go outside the county to get gasoline or they’re going to pay extremely high prices.”

The first waiver the EPA issued on May 29 due to the damage is set to expire June 17. However, the agency says that “necessary repairs continue to prevent the use of the Buckeye Laurel Pipeline,” so another waiver has been granted.

The agency has waived the low Reid vapor pressure (RVP) requirement under the Clean Air Act that prohibits the county from selling gasoline above 7.8 psi during the summer.

Instead, the EPA says that Allegheny County can sell gasoline that meets the 9.0 psi RVP standard permitted in other areas of the state.

The waiver also lifts the requirement for gas stations in the county to only sell summer-blend gasoline.

The new waiver, valid until midnight July 1, is meant to ensure there is enough gasoline to supply the county until pipeline repairs are completed and regular supply is restored, according to the EPA.

Rachele Mongiovi

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