Thursday, May 17, 2012

Gas Price Bill Could Come With High Costs Away From The Pump

(05/17/12) HARRISBURG, Penn. - Supporters say it could save Pennsylvanians money at the pump, but health advocates are waving a red flag. They caution that a gas-price bill scheduled to be debated by a U.S. House committee today comes with a far higher price tag: human health.

The Gasoline Regulations Act(H.B. 4471) would put a panel in place that could reduce Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on greenhouse gas and sulfur emissions from refineries. Ultimately, it could lower air-quality standards for ozone.

Peter Iwanowicz, head of the American Lung Association Healthy Air Campaign, says his group surveyed likely voters in Pennsylvania about the issue.

"We specifically asked whether the EPA should tighten standards to provide cleaner-burning gasoline, and 60 percent of likely voters want stronger standards there."

Iwanowicz says oil producers see the legislation as another chance to increase production and record high profits.

"Big oil has been looking for over two decades to inject the feasibility and cost test into this process. They've been turned back by EPA; they've been turned back by Congress; they've been turned back, in fact, by a Supreme Court decision."

Factors to consider rise above a cheaper gallon of gas, he adds.

"Air pollution makes people sick; it cuts lives short. The last thing we need right now, particularly in Pennsylvania, is a roll-back in clean air protection or blocking of EPA setting new standards to protect public health."

Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield, a co-sponsor of the bill, calls it a reality check on the impact federal regulations can have at the pump. Iwanowicz says a more accurate description of the measure is "a wish list for Big Oil."

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