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Beshear asks EPA to waive reformulated gas rule in Louisville area

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After Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshearfroze the state’s fuel tax last week, he’s now asking the federal government to stop the sale of costlier reformulated gas in the Louisville area.

Cities with high smog levels are federally required to use reformulated gas in an attempt to reduce pollution. Jefferson County and parts of Bullitt and Oldham Counties have been under this federal mandate since 1995.

Beshear asked the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday to grant a temporary waiver on the requirement. During a news conference on Thursday, he said the waiver would only last 20 days but could save Kentuckians in the area between 20 and 30 cents per gallon.

“The people who live and work in the Louisville area shouldn't have to shoulder this additional burden during what is already such a challenging time,” Beshear said.

Reformulated gas is less cost efficient than conventional gasoline but can reduce pollutants like carbon monoxide.

In his letter to the EPA, Beshear said the supply of reformulated gasoline that Kentucky relies on has faced the added pressure of a global supply crunch.

Republican lawmakers are advocating for a similar measure. During a news conference on Thursday, Louisville GOP Rep. Jason Nemes called on Beshear to permanently suspend the requirement.

“Do what your father did and what previous governors have done and reduce the price of the pump today in Jefferson, Oldham and Bullitt counties,” Nemes said.

Former Gov. Steve Beshear, the current governor’s father, petitioned the EPA to temporarily drop the requirement during the 2008 recession.

According to the EPA, reformulated gas burns cleaner than conventional fuel, but is more expensive to produce than conventional fuel.

Earlier this year, the Louisville Metro Council discussed a similar measure and urged Beshear to lift the requirement for the rest of the year. 

Divya is LPM's Race & Equity Reporter. Email Divya at dkarthikeyan@lpm.org.

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