The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has requested that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approve revisions to Florida’s maintenance plan for the 1997 8-hour national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS). The revisions would allow for the statewide use of 9.0 pounds per square inch (psi) Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) gasoline beginning in the summer of 2014. Federal regulations currently impose a summertime RVP standard of 9.0 psi statewide, except in six counties (Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Pinellas) once designated as nonattainment areas for the 1979 1-hour ozone NAAQS. These counties are subject to a summertime RVP standard of 7.8 psi. A lower RVP standard helps reduce volatile organic compounds, which are precursors to ozone formation.
In support of its request, DEP stated that its research and modeling show that the 7.8 psi RVP standard has an insignificant effect on air quality and ozone levels in Florida, and no effect on the state’s ability to maintain the 1997 ozone NAAQS. DEP also stated that the standard constrains Florida’s economy with increased gas prices and the potential for gasoline shortages during hurricane season. Additional details regarding the proposed amendments can be found here.
Comments on the proposed amendments are due to DEP by July 31, 2013, and a public hearing will be held on August 7, 2013, if requested. For additional information, contact Andrew Holway.