S. Hrg. 105-407: Water Pollution Risks of Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE): Field Hearing before the Committee on Environment and Public Works United States Senate One Hundred Fifth Congress First Session, December 9, 1997   [open pdf - 1MB]

The purpose of this committee hearing is to initiate a comprehensive Federal review of the risks and benefits associated with the use of the chemical methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE, an oxygenate which is added to gasoline to make it burn more cleanly and efficiently. The blending of oxygenates in gasoline is required by the 1990 Clean Air Act and it is a key component in our nation's strategy to help meet Federal air quality standards for carbon monoxide and ozone because it results in cleaner tailpipe emissions. Questions about the risks of MTBE include: How pervasive is MTBE contamination of our nation's drinking water and groundwater today? If the major source of MTBE contamination is leaking underground gas storage tanks and fuel pipelines how many of these are located near sources of drinking water? Are there immediate safety measures we can take to prevent MTBE contamination at these sites? Will we be safe from significant levels of MTBE contamination if all tanks are replaced and closely monitored, or can MTBE corrode through new tanks, a very important question that will be raised today. Once MTBE gets into the soil and water why is it so slow to biodegrade into a harmless substance? How can we clean it up cost effectively, given how quickly it leaks through the soil into the groundwater? Are the Federal requirements regarding the quality of underground storage tanks sufficient to protect against concerns about the corrosive nature of MTBE? Statements, witnesses and submissions: Barbara Boxer, Nancy Balter, Nachman Brautbar, Cynthia Dougherty, Stephen Hall, Tom Hayden, Richard Mountjoy, Gary Patton, Craig Perkins, Peter Rooney, David Spath, John Zogorski, Myron Mehlman, Judy Abdo, Juliette Anthony, James Biebesheimer, Barry Dorfman, Thomas Eveland, Robert Gross, Dexter Koontz, F. W. Russell, Kathy Simpson, Jodi Waters, Peter Joseph, Michael Kavanaugh, John Froines, Rick Hydrick, and Jorge Mancillas.

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S. Hrg. 105-407; Senate Hearing 105-407
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