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The federal government will fund two $1 million pilot projects in New York and California to assist with the cleanup of the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) in contaminated community water supplies, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Areas of Long Island, N.Y., and Santa Monica, Calif., are among those communities most affected by MTBE contamination.
"To protect public health and the environment, the Clinton-Gore Administration has called on Congress to eliminate MTBE from gasoline, and we've begun regulatory action aimed at phasing it out," said Carol M. Browner, EPA administrator. "However, in the meantime, action must be taken to help communities already affected by MTBE leaks. We are providing additional funding to help New York and California remove MTBE contamination in affected communities and prevent future problems from leaking tanks."
MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether, is an additive in gasoline used by many refiners to meet a provision of the Clean Air Act that calls for the use of oxygenates in fuels. In 1999, the Clinton-Gore Administration convened a Blue-Ribbon Panel to investigate if MTBE posed special risks to water supplies. In the fall of 1999, the Panel presented scientific proof confirming that MTBE threatens water supplies.
(Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)