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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol M. Browner today announced that a blue-ribbon panel of leading experts from the public health and scientific communities, automotive fuels industry, water utilities, and local and State government will be created to review the important issues posed by the use of MTBE and other oxygenates in gasoline. While MTBE and other oxygenates have provided the nation with important clean air benefits, EPA is creating this panel to gain a better understanding of the public health concerns raised by the discovery of MTBE in some water supplies. The panel will be chaired by Dr. Daniel Greenbaum, President of the Health Effects Institute (HEI), Cambridge, Mass. Under the direction of Dr. Greenbaum, HEI recently published major reviews on "The Health Effects of Diesel Exhaust" and, "The Health Effects of Oxygenates Added to Gasoline."

"While MTBE and other oxygenates in gasoline have improved air quality for millions of Americans, I am convening a blue-ribbon panel of experts to better understand public health concerns that have been raised by the discovery of MTBE in some water bodies," said EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner. "Our goal is to protect public health and the environment by ensuring both cleaner air and cleaner water.

"Dr. Greenbaum is uniquely qualified to head this panel because of his extensive experience in the area of health effects and fuel additives. He will be working with members who represent a broad range of expertise regarding oxygenated gasolines."

The blue-ribbon panel, under the auspices of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, will: 1) examine the role of oxygenates in meeting the nation's goal of clean air, 2) evaluate each product's efficiency in providing clean air benefits and the existence of alternatives, 3) assess the behavior of oxygenates in the environment, 4) review any known health effects, and 5) compare the cost of production and use, and each product's availability-- both at present and in the future. The panel will also study the causes of groundwater and drinking water contamination from motor vehicle fuels, and explore prevention and cleanup technologies for water and soil.

Within six months, this panel will report to EPA its findings, including specific recommendations on how to ensure public health protection and continued improvement in both air and water quality.

The Clean Air Act of 1990 requires the use of emissions-reducing oxygenated fuels in areas failing to meet national health standards. The Act does not specify which oxygenates are to be used in making cleaner-burning gasoline, leaving that decision to the manufacturer. MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether, and ethanol frequently are selected by refiners for producing cleaner-burning gasolines.

In a separate but related action, the EPA also is directing the fuels industry to conduct a new program required under the Clean Air Act to assess the potential health effects associated with all gasolines and gasoline additives -- conventional gasoline as well as gasoline that has been reformulated with oxygenates by manufacturers. The information provided will help the Agency better understand the health risks associated with exposure to automotive fuels.

PR-159                            ###

                Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (CAAC)
                   Panel on Oxygenate Use in Gasoline

Panel Chair

      Mr. Daniel Greenbaum
      Health Effects Institute
      141 Portland Street Suite 7300
      Cambridge, MA 02139

Panel Members

          Mr. Mark Beuhler
          Director of Water Quality
          Metropolitan Water District of 
          Southern California
          P.O. Box 54153
          Los Angeles, CA 90071
          Mr. Robert Campbell
          Chairman, President and 
          Chief Executive  Officer
          Sun Company, Inc.
          1801 Market Street
          Philadelphia, PA 19103-1699
          Dr. Patricia Ellis
          Delaware Department of Natural
          Resources and Environmental 
          Air and Waste Management Division
          391 Lukens Drive
          New Castle, DE 19720
          Dr. Linda Greer
          Senior Scientist
          Natural Resources Defense Council
          1350 New York Ave., NW
          Washington, DC 20005
          Mr. Jason Grumet
          Executive Director
          129 Portland Street
          Boston, MA 02114
           Dr. Anne Happel
          Environmental Scientist
          Lawrence Livermore National 
          Laboratory, L-542
          7000 East Avenue
          Livermore, CA 94550
          Mr. Michael Kenny
          Executive Officer
          California Air Resources Board
          P.O. Box 2815
          Sacramento, CA 95812
          Dr. Carol Henry
          Director, Health and 
          Environmental Sciences
          American Petroleum Institute
          1220 L Street, NW
          Washington, DC 20005-4070
          Mr. Robert Perciasepe
          Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation US 
          Environmental Protection Agency
          401 M Street, SW
          Washington, DC 20460

          Dr. Robert Sawyer
          Professor, Graduate School
          Mechanical Engineering Department
          University of California at Berkeley
          72 Hesse Hall
          Berkeley, CA 94720-1740
          Ms. Debbie Starnes 
          Senior Vice President
          Intermediate Chemical
          Lyondell Chemical Company    
          1221 McKinney Street, Suite 1600
          Houston, TX 77010

          Mr. Todd Sneller
          Executive Director
          Nebraska Ethanol Board
          301 Centennial Mall South
          Fourth Floor
          Lincoln, NE 69509
          Mr. Ron White
          Director, National Programs
          American Lung Association
          1726 M Street NW, Suite 902
          Washington, DC 20036

Federal Representives (non-member consultants to Panel)

          Mr. Roger Conway
          Director, Office of Energy Policy and 
          New Uses
          US Department of Agriculture
          1800 M Street NW, Room 4129 N
          Washington, DC 20036
          Ms. Cynthia Dougherty
          Director, Office of Ground Water and
          Drinking Water
          US Environmental Protection Agency
          Washington, DC 20460
          Dr. Bill Farland
          Director, National Center for 
          Environmental Assessment
          Office of Research and Development
          US Environmental Protection Agency
          Washington, DC 20460
          Mr. Barry McNutt
          Senior Policy Analyst
          Department of Energy
          1000 Independence Avenue, Room H021
          Washington, DC 20585
          Ms. Margo Oge
          Director, Office of Mobile Sources
          Office of Air and Radiation
          US Environmental Protection Agency
          401 M Street SW
          Washington, DC 20460
          Ms.  Anna Verbick
          Office of Underground Storage Tanks

          US Environmental Protection Agency
          401 M Street, SW MC-5401G
          Washington, DC 20460
          Dr. Mary White
          Epidemiologist Chief
          Health Investigations Branch
          Center for Disease Control and Prevention
          1600 Clifton Road
          Mail Stop E-31
          Atlanta, GA 30333
          Dr. John Zogorski
          Project Chief,
          National Water Quality Assessment Program
          US Geological Survey
          1608 Mountain View Road
          Rapid City, SD 57702

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