Monday, July 25, 2005

MTBE fix will move Energy Bill

Although the companies that own gas stations were responsible for MTBE leaking into the nation's water supplies, it will be the MTBE manufacturers who pay the price in the deal cut to move the Federal Energy Bill forward.

Congressional negotiators said Sunday they had resolved a dispute over a controversial gasoline additive that had threatened passage of the first overhaul of national energy policy in more than a decade.

They said they did not expect the energy bill to include any legal protection for the manufacturers of methyl tertiary-butyl ether, or MTBE, which helps engines produce less smog but has been blamed for contaminating groundwater supplies across the country.

The decision not to shield MTBE manufacturers from environmental lawsuits should clear the way for negotiators to complete work on a final bill, perhaps as early as today, and send it to the House and the Senate for approval by the end of the week.