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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE November 25, 2019

Governors Ask President Trump to Remove Gasoline’s Deadly Aromatics

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem Say Poisonous Aromatics Put Our Health at Risk

            In a letter to President Trump today, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem asked him to enforce a provision of the Clean Air Act that requires the reduction and elimination of toxic carcinogenic aromatics from gasoline.  This requirement has been largely ignored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for decades.  “This is unacceptable,” the governors told the President.  Governor Walz and Governor Noem are the chair and vice chair of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition.

In 1990, Congress passed the landmark Clean Air Act amendments and directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the dangerous chemical additives in gasoline.  Today, almost 30 years later, this vital element of the law has yet to be enforced in any meaningful way.  Aromatics, the poisonous chemicals that oil refiners add to all gasoline, remain a significant component of the fuels we use every day.

EPA’s octane options in the 1990s were limited, and cost-effective aromatic substitutes did not exist.  Today, many options exist, including high-octane biofuels.  The governors said that “[n]ow, there is an available replacement, and it’s time for the Trump Administration to follow the law and give Americans less toxic gasoline and the benefit of sustained, lower gasoline prices by replacing aromatics with biofuels,”

Vested interests in Washington will fight to deny alternative fuels the opportunity to compete on a level playing field.  Recently, the oil industry’s well-funded misinformation campaign has sought to reduce the use of high-octane, clean-burning biofuels in proposed vehicle fuel efficiency standards.  Substituting biofuels’ clean octane for aromatics’ dirty octane would yield at least two major benefits.

The first benefit is twofold: reduced pollution and better health.  Aromatics are not only energy inefficient and costly; they pollute the environment and substantially increase health costs.  Aromatics are the primary source of carcinogenic air toxics like benzene, as well as fine and ultrafine particulates.  Recent studies confirm that aromatics-generated air toxics are major causes of asthma and other respiratory, cardiovascular, and brain diseases, in addition to a wide range of cancers.  The human health risks, and the associated costs, are so high because the majority of Americans live near congested roadways, or spend time commuting in their cars, and are unable to escape these invisible and lethal particles.

The second benefit is lower-cost gasoline.  Since aromatics typically cost a dollar or more than biofuels, substituting more biofuels for aromatics would save consumers billions of dollars each year.

“President Trump should order EPA to obey Congress’s long-neglected directive to reduce the toxic compounds in gasoline.  By replacing aromatics with cleaner alternatives, the nation will be on the right path to cleaner-burning, less costly fuel.  Any other approach is the wrong policy for America,” the governors said.

“We look forward to working with [President Trump] to help Americans achieve healthier and more economically secure lives, while further reducing the nation’s use of deadly aromatics in gasoline and replacing them with renewable biofuels,” Governor Walz and Governor Noem concluded.

GBC Aromatics Letter to President Trump


Larry Pearce (Coalition) 402-651-2948

Margaret Hart (Walz) 651-201-6131

Kristin Wileman (Noem) 605-290-6493

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Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.