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Sweeney Measure To Ban ‘MTBE’ Clears Senate

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Stephen M. Sweeney that would ban the sale of gasoline additive Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) in New Jersey was approved today by the Senate.

“MBTE has been banned in other states because of the life-threatening health risks it poses to residents who are exposed to contaminated water and soil,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem, who serves as Vice-Chair of the Senate Environment Committee. “By working eliminate the need for MTBE and other chemicals like it, we would be working to protect residents from developing life-threatening diseases like cancer from their drinking water, while helping the State maintain its place in the forefront of environmental technology.”

Senator Sweeney’s measure, S-2018, would the sale of gasoline containing more than 0.5% MTBE within the State as of January 1, 2009. Persons or companies found violating the bill’s provisions would be subject to penalties under the Water Pollution Control Act, which includes civil administrative penalties of up to $50,000 per day.

MTBE is an additive used in gasoline to help fulfill the State’s oxygenated fuel requirements, as mandated under the federal “Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.” MTBE can be hazardous if the additive leaks into water supplies, and it is resistant to biodegradation which makes clean-up difficult and expensive.

This measure was approved by the Senate Environment Committee on May 19. It now heads to the Assembly for consideration.

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