TRENTON, N.J. -- Acting New Jersey Governor Richard Codey signed into law last Thursday a ban on the sale of gasoline containing the fuel additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), reported the Gloucester County Times.
MTBE was mandated in the 1990 Clean Air Act to help reduce automobile emissions; however, when it began turning up in wells it became known as a groundwater contaminant.
"Prohibiting the use of MTBE will help protect the health and well-being of New Jerseyans by eliminating the harmful residue from the gasoline [image-nocss] additive, a carcinogen which often leaks into groundwater and contaminates local soil and water supplies," said State Senator Stephen Sweeney (D), sponsor of the bill.
In the lower house, it was sponsored by Assemblymen John Burzichelli (D), Douglas Fisher (D) and David Mayer (D), said the report.
"MTBE is a dangerous substance that cannot be allowed to pollute our water supply," Mayer said in a written statement. "The costs associated with treating water contaminated by MTBE are astronomical."
Under the law, New Jersey's gasoline retailers will be prohibited from selling gasoline containing more than .5% MTBE starting January 2009, the report said.
Environmentalists opposed the measure because it pushed ethanol as a replacement for MTBE; Sweeney is currently pushing for state and federal funding of an approved ethanol plant in his district, said the newspaper.
The law will allow the production of MTBE in New Jersey, it added. Several of those production facilities are located in Sweeney's district.