Senator plans MTBE bill |

Senator plans MTBE bill

Lake Tahoe’s California state representatives are united in their fight against the controversial fuel additive MTBE.

One day after Assemblyman Thomas “Rico” Oller, R-San Andreas, introduced a bill which would ban the use of MTBE in California, State Sen. Tim Leslie, R-Tahoe City, announced his intention to introduce similar legislation in the senate.

“He plans to introduce a bill that will eliminate MTBE in the state,” said Kristin Olsen, legislative aid for Leslie. “We still have things to work out, but his intention is to eliminate MTBE in California.”

Oller’s legislation – Assembly Bill 129 – would overturn the California Air Resources Board regulation that requires the use of MTBE or similar additives in gasoline, and would prohibit any further use of MTBE in the state. It would take effect immediately.

The South Tahoe Public Utility District has closed more than one-third of its drinking water wells because of the threat of MTBE contamination.

“Now we’ve got support in the Assembly and in the Senate,” said Dawn Forsythe, STPUD information officer. “Momentum is building.”

MTBE – methyl tertiary butyl ether – is a colorless liquid added to gasoline to help reduce air pollution. Its potential health hazards are still being studied, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies it as possible human carcinogen.

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