In the 'we must do something even if it does not work' department, it isn't always permanent; vapor recovery mandates for new gas stations in Pennsylvania are quietly dying. The Department of Environmental Protection today announced it will not enforce a requirement for new gas stations to install costly vapor recovery systems.

It's still the law, current regulations require facilities in southeast and southwest Pennsylvania to maintain vapor recovery systems, which are attached to gas pump nozzles to siphon off fumes while pumping gasoline, but they are not going to endorse it. A notice regarding the issue was submitted for publication in this week's Pennsylvania Bulletin.

"These so-called Stage II vapor recovery systems must still be operated and maintained at existing facilities until further notice," DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. "We will, however, use our discretion to not enforce these requirements for any new gas station in the greater Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas because the diminishing benefits do not justify the cost of installing new systems."

On July 5th, Governor Tom Corbett signed into law Act 135, legislation, sponsored by Sen. Elder Vogel (R-47) which amended the Air Pollution Control Act to direct DEP to review its current compliance strategy of utilizing low Reid Vapor Pressure gasoline during the summer ozone season to comply with federal ozone air quality standards. The law also directs DEP to seek waivers from this requirement in the event of a fuel supply disruption.

Why? Republicans hate the environment?  No, most vehicles include vapor recovery technology in the cars and trucks themselves, it is just another unnecessary expense that makes going to work more expensive, so the EPA is allowing states that can demonstrate widespread fleet turnover to remove from their State Implementation Plans Stage II vapor recovery requirements for gasoline-dispensing facilities once state regulations are repealed. Vapor recovery systems have been required for about 1,600 gasoline-dispensing facilities in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Delaware, Fayette, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Washington and Westmoreland counties. 

Environmentalists will still be able to sue, of course.