Water utilities and consumers would be at risk of having to cover possibly billions of dollars in water contamination cleanup and source replacement costs if two pieces of legislation are enacted. The legislation (H.R. 6 and S. 791) provide liability immunity to the producers of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and ethanol.
The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) and the American Water Works Association (AWWA), who together represent drinking water systems serving approximately 180 million Americans, are actively opposing both pieces of legislation.
Officials representing the associations will hold a press conference at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, May 12 at the East Room of the National Press Club located in downtown Washington, D.C. at 529 14th Street.
The House energy bill, H.R. 6, provides the makers of the fuel additives MTBE and ethanol "safe harbor" from product liability suits. S. 791, likely to become part of the Senate energy bill, S. 14, does the same for ethanol producers. If enacted, these provisions would prevent water systems from bringing product liability claims demanding producers of these fuel additives to clean up contaminated water supplies and pay for the acquisition of new sources of drinking water, and producers will have little incentive to so on their own. Instead, water suppliers and consumers will be unfairly forced to pay the bill.