After Pipeline Leak, EPA Grants Brief Waiver Of Clean Fuel Requirement In Allegheny County

May 31, 2019

A damaged pipeline has prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to temporarily waive a requirement for a special, cleaner blend of gasoline in Allegheny County during summer months.

The Allegheny County Health Department requested the waiver in response to the Laurel Pipeline leaking water on May 20. The line, owned by Buckeye Partners, crosses Pennsylvania and supplies most of the fuel sold in the county.

Buckeye said in a statement that the line was damaged near Pittsburgh. The company said it’s working with gasoline shippers to continue to supply fuel to the area while it makes repairs.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson Lauren Fraley wrote in an email that her agency does not oversee the pipeline, but it’s aware of the incident, which occurred during routine testing of the line. She said no fuel leaked, so the DEP does not believe the incident caused any harm to the environment.

In a statement, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler called the circumstances “extreme and unusual,” and the agency said its waiver would help minimize problems supplying gasoline to the area. The waiver is in effect through June 17.

The EPA is set to decide later this year whether to completely do away with the cleaner fuel requirement, which was put in place in the 1990s to reduce smog in Allegheny County and the surrounding area. The cleaner fuel sold here tends to cost more than gasoline elsewhere in the state.