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8/21/2003

EPA grants Ariz. dirty gas request

The Associated Press

PHOENIX — A gasoline pipeline that was shut down for safety reasons failed one of two tests needed to reopen it, the company that owns the line said Wednesday.

The closure of the pipeline, which provides a third of the metropolitan area’s gas, has sparked days of shortages and long lines at gas stations.

Houston-based Kinder Morgan Energy Partners said a test on the first segment of the pipeline was going well and should be completed Wednesday afternoon, but a test on a second 4-mile segment failed near Tucson.

The failed section was near an area where the pipeline burst on July 30, said Kinder Morgan spokesman Rick Rainey.

The section that failed during testing was being repaired, and a new test will be needed, company officials said.

The pipeline still is expected to be running back at full capacity by the weekend, Rainey said.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency granted Gov. Janet Napolitano’s request that Maricopa County be allowed to use conventional rather than cleaner burning fuel until the gas supply stabilizes.

In a letter sent Wednesday, EPA Assistant Administrator John Peter Suarez said gas stations could sell conventional gas as long as efforts were being made to obtain as much cleaner-burning fuel as possible.

The waiver expires Sept. 19.

Napolitano on Tuesday asked that the state be allowed to bypass requirements for cleaner-burning fuel.

Since 1997, the federal government has required gas stations in the Phoenix metropolitan area to use gasoline blended with ethanol or another additive to combat ozone pollution during the summer.