The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has denied Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s request to temporarily waive reformulated gas requirements in a bid to relieve some of the pain at the pump for drivers in Louisville Metro and surrounding counties.
With gas prices surging around the country, Beshear wrote a letter to the EPA in early June asking the agency to forgo EPA requirements that require Louisville, as well as parts of Bullitt and Oldham counties, to use more expensive reformulated gas.
Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet confirmed Friday the EPA verbally denied the request. However, the Beshear administration is moving forward with a freeze on the state’s new gas tax that would have taken effect July 1st, according to EEC spokesperson John Mura.
“Beshear is committed to doing everything he can to lower gas prices, which is why he recently took action to freeze the state gas tax preventing a 2-cent increase per gallon,” Mura wrote in a statement.
Reformulated gas is blended to burn cleaner than conventional gas. The EPA requires the Louisville Metro area to use the reformulated fuel as part of a plan to lower the amount of ground level ozone.
Louisville is currently out of attainment with National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ground level ozone, a pollutant that can cause coughing, shortness of breath and increase the frequency of asthma attacks for sensitive groups.
The city’s air pollution regulators are asking the EPA to look at the city’s most recent air quality data to designate the area as “in attainment” with national standards. The Air Pollution Control District expects to issue the re-designation for public comment some time this summer, spokesperson Matthew Mudd said.