A House Subcommittee cleared up details on what some members say will be the biggest bill passed this year.
Justin Herndon has the story.
The Environment and Energy Subcommittee tried to set a date for oil companies to stop using the gasoline additive MTBE.
The EPA originally started use of MTBE two decades ago.
Now, the EPA's website says MTBE could leak out and be a hazard in drinking water if used in underground storage tanks.
Representative John Griesheimer said the EPA identified a potential problem with Missouri's water but it has done nothing to fix it.
Members say they fear if a tank ruptured, Missourians could be at risk.
The EPA is considering federal legislation that would set a national standard but neighboring states are already taking action.
Iowa already banned MTBE and Illnois will ban it in July 20-04.
The main issue is not if, but when the gas companies should began using ethanol instead of MTBE to prevent the problem.
Most subcommittee members want the ban to start January 1, 20-04 but others fear the oil companies won't be ready until that July.
Diane Miller of the Missouri Oil Council said Missouri's transtition can happen soon.
The transition will make ethanol the primary gasoline additive.
And the bill's sponsor Representative Maurice Lawson of St. Joseph, says there are added benefits to making the switch.
He said he's wanted to get this legislation in the works since 1996.
Lawson says oil companies are ready to comply, and he's optimistic this version will get the governor's signature.
Representative Griesheimer agrees on the need to pass the bill this session and said it could help Missouri more than any other bill.
Once the bill goes back to the Energy and Environment Committee, members would bring it before the full house for approval.
Justin Herndon, Jefferson City.