General Procedures to Opt Out of the RFG Requirements.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a final rule to provide criteria and procedures for states with voluntary reformulated gasoline (RFG) programs to withdraw or opt-out areas from the federal RFG program. This action provides the states with the flexibility of choosing other control measures to reduce ozone levels while maintaining the air quality standards required under the Clean Air Act Amendments (Act).
This final rule applies to ozone non-attainment areas (i.e. areas with ozone or "smog" problems) where the state voluntarily opted into the program and subsequently decides to withdraw from the RFG program, an action referred to as "opt-out." This rule describes the process a state must follow to request withdrawal from the program, the criteria used by EPA to evaluate a request, and the transition period before the opt-out becomes effective.
As requested by the states' Governors, this final rule also officially removes twenty-eight counties in Pennsylvania, nine counties in New York, and two counties in Maine from the federal list of areas in the RFG program. Effectively these areas have never sold RFG since, upon the state's request, they received an exemption (via a stay, or temporary suspension of the regulatory requirements) before the program began in 1995. This exemption from the program's requirements was effective until today's final rule was signed.