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Effort to help Calif. gas stations

April 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
There's an effort underway in Sacramento to delay new air quality rules that could force thousands of gas stations to shut down. Republicans introduced a bill Wednesday that would force the state Air Resources Board to hold off requiring stations to install new vapor recovery systems on the nozzles of their gas pumps.

Many station operators say they don't have the money to install the systems now, or to pay the fines if they don't comply.

Critics of the rules say the required systems weren't approved until last October, which didn't leave station operators time to arrange financing to comply. Only a fifth of the state's gas stations are now equipped with the EVR system. The EVRs capture 98 percent of the emissions that escape from the nozzle as gas is pumped into a vehicle. Most stations currently have equipment that captures 95 percent of emissions.

Stations that have not done so could be subject to fines ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 per month, depending on how many pumps they operate.

"We would like to resolve this in a congenial way, basically sharing our concern with CARB and asking them to give us another year extension," said State Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello).

The bill has bipartisan support and could reach the Assembly floor on Thursday.


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