Bipartisan, Bicameral Congressional Letter Urges EPA to Withdraw Costly Small Gasoline Bulk Plant Vapor Balancing Proposed Mandate

On May 22, 2023 Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Congressman John Joyce (R-PA), along with 82 lawmakers, urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw a proposed rule that would mandate the installation of gasoline vapor balancing equipment at virtually every small/intermediate bulk storage plant and loading cargo tank wagon across the country. If finalized in the current form, the rule would lead to “higher fuel costs or the elimination of intermediate gasoline storage at small bulk plants, impacting supply to end users offering vital services to their local communities and potentially cutting off whole communities during an emergency,” said the bipartisan group of lawmakers, which includes Democratic Representatives Angie Craig (MN), Bennie Thompson (MS) as well as Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and more.

“The EPA’s overzealous proposed rule could have disastrous consequences for North Dakotans. Small, family-owned gasoline bulk storage plants are a critical part of the fuel distribution system in rural areas,” said Senator Cramer. “If finalized, this proposal would either force increased costs on consumers or the closure of storage facilities. It’s a lose-lose for everyone involved, and the EPA should withdraw the rule.”

Background: In June 2022, the EPA proposed revisions to the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants [NESHAP Subpart BBBBBB (small bulk gasoline plants)] to require vapor balancing equipment both for delivering to a storage tank and loading a cargo tank at all gasoline bulk plants with a maximum design throughput of 4,000 gallons per day or more. The current threshold is 20,000 gallons per day of actual throughput. Gasoline is typically shipped to customers daily in large tank vehicles that pickup product at a large supply terminal and deliver a full truckload directly into customer storage tanks. However, some customers, including state and local governments, farmers, ranchers, commercial end-users, and first responders, require a smaller volume of gasoline than a full truckload on an even less frequent delivery schedule. Unfortunately, the EPA significantly underestimated the economic impact of the proposed rule on small business energy marketers and affect the availability of gasoline in rural areas and on the farmers, businesses, and first responders that rely on these small energy marketers for gasoline.

“Ensuring that rural gas stations have the necessary supply to meet demand is essential for our families, farmers, and emergency services providers. This issue transcends political divides and it’s time for the EPA to withdraw provisions of the proposed NESHAP rule that apply to small bulk plant facilities and put our gasoline supply at risk,” said Rep. John Joyce (R-PA).

Based on gasoline bulk plant surveys and upgrade cost information collected by the Energy Marketers of America (EMA), the cost to upgrade a gasoline bulk plant to a vapor balance system for both transport unloading and tank vehicle loading will exceed $120,000 per facility. “These compliance costs to small business energy marketers are concerning and we urge the EPA to withdraw this costly proposed rule to keep small businesses in business and to maintain critical fuel supply across the country especially during emergencies,” said EMA President Rob Underwood.

CLICK HERE to read the full text of the letter.