EMA Meets with White House OMB to Discuss Proposed Bulk Plant Vapor Recovery Rule

EMA met with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) this week to make certain a recent EPA proposed rulemaking contains language eliminating small business energy marketers from installing expensive vapor recovery equipment at their bulk plants with gasoline storage. All major agency rulemakings, including EPA’s vapor recovery proposal must go through OMB for final approval. The OMB has the authority to order changes to a proposed rulemaking before it is finalized.

Last June, the EPA proposed a new hazardous pollutant air emissions standard to control gasoline vapors at downstream gasoline bulk plants. The proposed rule would require nearly every bulk plant with gasoline storage to be equipped with vapor recovery systems on storage tanks, loading racks and cargo tank vehicles. A prohibitively expensive cost that many energy marketers would avoid by eliminating gasoline bulk storage altogether. The rule would accomplish this by reducing the current threshold trigger for compliance with vapor recovery equipment from 20,000 gallons of gasoline or more per day of actual gasoline throughput, to a maximum design capacity daily throughput of 4,000 gallons or more of gasoline. EMA opposes the change because while virtually every bulk plant can theoretically pump more than 4,000 gallons of gasoline per day, actual daily gasoline throughput at downstream bulk plants is typically far less.

EMA met with the EPA earlier this year to oppose the proposed daily throughput trigger. At EMA’s request a bipartisan group of 84 members of Congress sent a letter to EPA supporting EMA’s position on the proposed rule. The Small Business Administration’s Office of Small Business Advocacy also weighed in on EMA’s behalf. As a result, EMA has had productive conversations with the EPA and recommended a new trigger of 4,000 gallons or more of actual gasoline throughout per day averaged over 365 days. This trigger would eliminate all bulk plants with gasoline throughput of 1,460,000 gallons or less per year from vapor recovery requirements. EMA told the EPA that this new trigger would be acceptable since nearly all bulk plants have gasoline throughputs of less than 1,460,000 per year, relieving small business energy marketers from expensive compliance requirements. EMA urged the OMB to make certain the alternative throughput trigger language favorable to downstream energy marketers is included in the final rulemaking. The EPA is expected to issue a final rulemaking by February 2024.