Association of California Water Agencies reacts strongly to denial of oxygenate waiver

The Association of California Water Agencies reacted with strong disapproval to President George W. Bush's decision not to allow California to go without fuel oxygenates.

SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 12, 2001 — The Association of California Water Agencies reacted with strong disapproval to President George W. Bush's decision not to allow California to go without fuel oxygenates.

The State of California asked the Environmental Protection Agency for a waiver from the oxygenate requirement. Oxygenates have been the subject of increasing controversy because of the persistence of the oxygenate MTBE in groundwater sources.

"ACWA and its public water agency members must respectfully disagree with the Bush Administration's decision to deny California's request for a waiver from the oxygenate requirement," the organization said in its statement. "California has in fact proven that it can meet the air quality goals desired by the public and established by the Environmental Protection Agency without using oxygenates.

"ACWA is deeply disappointed by the decision not to grant California's waiver request. ACWA believes that there is ample evidence to support the justification for a waiver at this time. Further, the Clean Water Act clearly provides the latitude to grant the waiver.

"The current oxygenate being used in California, MTBE, has caused widespread groundwater contamination, affecting the drinking water of thousands of Californians. "Cost-effective treatment is still unavailable and meanwhile local water agencies have spent millions to procure replacement drinking water sources.

"ACWA intends to continue to work with the Bush Administration to secure an oxygenate waiver for California.

"ACWA is a statewide organization whose 440 public water agencies are responsible for about 90% of the water delivered in California. For more information, visit www.acwanet.com. "

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