EPA Extends Tier 3 Comment Period

Only two days after issuing the proposed Tier 3 rule, EPA last week announced it would extend the comment period for the rule.

EPA had originally started the comment period from the date on which public hearings were announced for the rule, rather than when the rule was actually published. The full rule wasn’t published until May 21, and that left only 23 days for public comment. EPA received numerous requests for an extension to the public comment period, and it appears that an extension will be granted.

On May 23, EPA announced it expects to extend the comment period by 17 days, ending on July 1 rather than the original date of June 13. The decision to extend the comment period will be finalized this week.

Beginning in 2017, Tier 3 would set tighter vehicle emission standards for new vehicles and reduce the sulfur content of gasoline. The rule has wide support among public health and environmental groups as well as automakers. Fuel groups have raised concerns about implementing the rule, which would require some refineries to add or improve desulfurization units and make other modifications. EPA estimates the rule will add about a penny per gallon to the cost of gasoline, while oil industry groups estimate the cost to be between 6 and 9 cents per gallon.