Governor Andy Beshear announced on Thursday that he requested a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) waiver on reformulated fuel requirements. The EPA requires gas stations in Louisville and parts of Bullitt and Oldham counties to sell reformulated fuel to improve air quality. That type of gasoline can raise the per-gallon price $0.20 to $0.30.
If approved, the request would suspend the requirement for 20 days.
Beshear cited the continued climb in fuel prices for the decision. Last week, he filed an emergency regulation to prevent a $0.02 per gallon increase in the gasoline tax on July 1.
The announcement came hours after a news conference from Senator Mike Nemes (R-Shepherdsville) and Representatives Kevin Bratcher (R-Louisville), Ken Fleming (R-Louisville), Thomas Huff (R-Shepherdsville), Jason Nemes (R-Louisville), and Russell Webber (R-Shepherdsville) in which the legislators called for the change.
“Drivers in Bullitt, Jefferson, and Oldham counties pay on average between 16 to 26 cents more per gallon of gas because of the reformulated gas requirement,” Webber said. “This is unnecessary and unfairly burdensome. I appreciate the governor heeding our March letter and the very public request we made earlier today. If approved by the EPA, our constituents should see an almost immediate decrease in the price at the pumps. But this is a temporary solution and only the first step. The legislature has directed the state to pursue permanently ending RFG requirements. It is time for the state to act.”
“I think it’s long-past time for a change,” said Bratcher. “Pollution levels have decreased in this area; Jefferson County even lost an entire power plant, and we passed a resolution in 2019 to study this issue. It was ignored and nothing has changed. There’s no reason why the residents of Jefferson, Bullitt, and Oldham Counties should still be singled out to pay for this higher-priced fuel.”
The governor also announced an executive order declaring a state of emergency regarding the nation’s baby formula shortage. The declaration will last 30 days and activates state price-gouging laws.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron activated the state’s price gouging website and hotline. Kentuckians can report concerns online or by calling 502-696-5485.
Also on Thursday, Beshear acknowledged that Friday will mark six months since deadly tornadoes tore a path of destruction across western Kentucky. The governor announced that Dawson Springs will receive $1.2 million from the State Aid Funding for Emergencies (SAFE) fund and Mayfield Electric and Water Systems will receive $15 million. Legislators allocated nearly $121 million to the fund in Senate Bill 150. Senator Robby Mills (R-Henderson) sponsored the KLC initiative that included a waiver of the model procurement code for local governments rebuilding after the storms.
Beshear said crews across the region had removed 2.5 million cubic yards of storm debris, which equals 250,000 dump-truck loads.