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Environment and Outdoors

EPA Proposes to Require Cleaner-Burning Gasoline in Seven Maine Counties

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to require the sale of so-called reformulated gasoline in several Maine counties, beginning in June. The proposal is in response to Maine's request to opt in to the program.

Reformulated gasoline - or RFG - is blended to reduce chemicals that cause smog and other pollution. RFG is required in cities with high smog levels, but is optional elsewhere.  The EPA is proposing that Maine require the blend in seven counties - York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Androscoggin, Kennebec, Knox and Lincoln.

The program is part of amendments enacted to the Clean Air Act in 1990, and is being phased in.  The second phase of the project began in 2000. In Maine, a 2013 law requiring southern Maine counties to start selling RFG by May 1, 2014 was later postponed until June 1, 2015.

"The use of RFG in many areas of New England has contributed to cleaner air in the region," says EPA's New England regional administrator Curt Spalding, in a statement.

States like Maine, which are designated by EPA as part of the Ozone Transport Region,  can opt in to the program. RFG is currently used in 17 states, including Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and southern New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia.

EPA officials say they're soliciting comments  about whether there will be enough capacity to supply the seven Maine counties with RFG by the June 1 deadline.

Learn more about the proposed RFG rule for Maine