EPA Waives Fuel Rule in 4 States After Indiana Refinery Fire

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
August 28, 2022US News
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EPA Waives Fuel Rule in 4 States After Indiana Refinery Fire
The BP refinery in Whiting, Ind., on Jan. 8, 2019. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CHICAGO—The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) temporarily lifted a federal rule for fuel sales in four states in response to a fire last week at an Indiana oil refinery that could affect prices and supply.

The emergency waiver was granted Saturday for Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said. In a letter to state officials, Regan said the agency determined the waiver is necessary “to minimize or prevent disruption of an adequate supply of gasoline to consumers.”

Michael Regan
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan testifies during a hearing before the Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee of House Committee on Energy and Commerce at Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 17, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The waiver lifts a Clear Air Act requirement that lower-volatility gasoline be sold in the states during summer months to limit ozone pollution. It is in effect until Sept. 15, the EPA said.

BP said its refinery in Whiting, Indiana, experienced an electrical fire Wednesday. No one was hurt, and the fire was put out, but it caused a loss of utilities in other parts of the refinery, forcing at least a partial shutdown. The refinery is located along Lake Michigan’s shoreline about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of Chicago, according to the company.

The company said Sunday it is working toward a “phased restart of the refinery,” but no date was given.

BP refinery
A truck passes by the BP refinery in Whiting, Ind., on Jan. 8, 2019. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Governors in all four states requested the EPA waivers, according to the EPA’s letter. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office said the refinery provides about 20 percent to 25 percent of the gasoline, jet fuel and diesel used by Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois.

BP spokeswoman Christina Audisho said the company was working with local and state agencies and was still assessing when affected units can restart.

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