Protecting Water Supplies From Gasoline Additives
North Carolina would ban a gasoline additive that has leaked into water supplies across the state and nation under a bill approved by legislators and sent to Gov. Mike Easley. North Carolina would become the first state in the Southeast to ban MTBE, which has leaked from underground storage tanks into groundwater in the state more than 2,000 times in the past few years. About 245 of those leaks showed up in well water, according to state figures. While environmentalists and the oil industry support the measure, the North Carolina Petroleum Marketers Association fears that banning MTBE here could lead to a supply shortage and higher consumer prices. Rep. Joe Tolson, the bill's sponsor, agreed to introduce additional legislation to make the 2008 deadline more flexible if supplies became an issue. On Wednesday, the Senate gave its unanimous approval to House Bill 1336, which I co-sponsored, and the House passed several weeks ago.