Stage II Implementation
The Federal Clean Air Act (FCAA) §182(b)(3) requires the installation of technology to prevent gasoline vapors from escaping during the refueling of on-road motor vehicles in certain areas designated nonattainment of the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone and classified as serious or above. Louisiana's parishes of Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupée, and West Baton Rouge were found by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be in non-attainment.
In order to comply with the FCAA, Louisiana adopted LA. R.S. 30:2051 et seq., and promulgated regulations under LAC 33:III.3132 in November 1992 to require Stage II Vapor Recovery Systems at all Motor Vehicle Fuel Dispensing Facilitites (MVFDF) in the six parish area.
On Board Vapor Recovery Systems
Since the early 2000s, new passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and most heavy-duty gasoline powered vehicles have been equipped with onboard refueling vapor recovery (ORVR) systems. ORVR systems are carbon canisters installed directly on automobiles to capture the fuel vapors evacuated from the gasoline tank before they reach the nozzle of a gas pump. The fuel vapors captured in the carbon canisters are then combusted in the engine when the automobile is in operation.
The phase-in of ORVR controls has essentially eliminated the need for Stage II vapor recovery systems. As such, EPA has been working with states as they strive to address State legislation and/or revise State regulations aimed at phasing-out Stage II vapor recovery programs.
On May 16, 2012, EPA issued a national rulemaking that emission reductions from ORVR alone are essentially equal to and will soon surpass the emission reductions achieved by Stage II (see 77 FR 28772 at 28772). In the May 16, 2012 action, EPA noted that each year, non-ORVR-equipped vehicles continue to be replaced with ORVR-equipped vehicles and Stage II and ORVR systems capture the same VOC emissions and thus, are redundant. EPA also determined that ORVR systems are in widespread use and waived the Stage II requirement for MVGDFs if doing so did not interfere with attaining or maintaining the ozone NAAQS.
The State of Louisiana submitted a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision to the EPA on May 30, 2019, which provided for the removal of the requirement to install Stage II vapor recovery systems, and included requirements for the decommissioning of existing Stage II equipment at gasoline dispensing facilities in the parishes of Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupée, and West Baton Rouge.
EPA approved the necessary Louisiana SIP changes, relaxing the Stage II requirements for the six parishes on July 6, 2020 (https://www.regulations.gov/document/EPA-R06-OAR-2019-0496-0006). According to the referenced rule revisions, "an existing facility with Stage II vapor recovery equipment shall complete decommissioning .... no later than 18 months from the EPA approval of the SIP revision ... "
All decommissioning of Stage II equipment must be completed by January 6, 2022. If decommissioning cannot be completed prior to this date, please notify LDEQ Air Planning and Assessment Division.