MTBE "Safe Harbor" campaign not over

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) and a coalition of civic organisations and water advocates urged US representatives and senators to resist the oil lobby's latest push...

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) and a coalition of civic organisations and water advocates urged US representatives and senators to resist the oil lobby's latest push to grant defective product liability immunity, the so-called "safe harbor," to gasoline makers in cases of water supplies contaminated by MTBE.

Bipartisan disapproval of the MTBE provision blocked passage of the Energy Bill last session, and the measure was eliminated in a revised Senate bill introduced 12 February; however oil lobbyists still insist that the safe harbor be included in whatever energy legislation finally emerges from Congress.

MTBE, methyl tertiary butyl ether, has contaminated hundreds of water supplies nationwide, and the US Environmental Protection Agency classifies it as a possible human carcinogen. Court documents have shown that gasoline manufacturers understood MTBE could spread farther and faster in the environment than other gasoline constituents and was a threat to drinking water supplies.

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