The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has temporarily waived in three states and Washington, D.C., a gasoline regulation aimed at improving air quality to alleviate fuel shortages associated with the Colonial pipeline shutdown.
The agency has lifted the vapor pressure requirements for fuel sold in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, as well as the District, through May 18.
An EPA press release said that EPA Administrator Michael ReganMichael ReganEPA finalizes rule cutting use of potent greenhouse gas used in refrigeration Former EPA chief to chair pro-Trump think tank's environmental center Overnight Energy & Environment — Effort to repeal Arctic refuge drilling advances MORE determined that “extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances exist” and issued the waiver to make sure there is an adequate gasoline supply to the areas.
In the summer, the agency requires gasoline to be at certain vapor pressure levels to ensure that it is less likely to evaporate and contribute to ozone pollution at the ground level.
Ozone is a key component in smog, and exposure to it has been linked to respiratory issues such as asthma attacks.
The move comes after the Colonial Pipeline, which says it supplies about 45 percent of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, shut down following a ransomware attack.
The attack didn’t shut down the pipeline, but the company chose to shut it down to prevent hackers from accessing its operational technology.
The White House said in a statement late Monday that it was monitoring fuel supply shortages in part of the southeast.