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Regulators Consider Relaxing Pollution Standards After Hurricane Katrina

Sacramento, CA — California air regulators are considering easing pollution standards to free up more gasoline because of shortages caused by Hurricane Katrina.

The California Air Resources Board is expected to decide today whether to seek emergency permission from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to suspend standards for cleaner burning gasoline sold in the state.

That would increase gas availability by about 10%, which is about the same as the projected loss because of the disruption of gasoline supplies from the Gulf of Mexico region.

The cost of easing the regulations is about a 7% increase in hydrocarbon emissions, much of it in smoggy Southern California and the Central Valley.

Depending on the weather, that could translate to about a 1% increase in ozone.