TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Stephen M. Sweeney that would ban the sale of Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) in New Jersey was unanimously approved today by the Senate Environment Committee.
“Outlawing the sale of MTBE within New Jersey is a matter of protecting the health and environment for residents,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. “Other states have banned MTBE because of the health risks it poses when it leaks into soil and drinking water supplies. By outlawing the sale of MTBE within the State, we would be taking the necessary measures to help preserve our natural resources for future generations.”
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.
“As a legislator, it’s my responsibility to fight for what is in the best interests of New Jerseyans, which includes working with companies to develop safe alternatives to help eliminate the need for chemicals like MTBE. Residents should not have to worry about developing cancer or other life-threatening diseases from their drinking water,” said Senator Sweeney.
The measure now awaits a vote by the full Senate.