EPA looks into lead emissions from GA aircraft

November 14, 2007

EPA looks into lead emissions from GA aircraft

By AOPA ePublishing staff

The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking feedback from the public and general aviation industry on leaded aviation fuel in response to a 2006 petition from the Friends of the Earth.

AOPA met Nov. 5 with the EPA, FAA, and general aviation industry groups to discuss the petition, state of the GA industry, concerns about transitioning from current avgas and associated safety-of-flight implications, and the fact that currently there is no unleaded fuel that will work for the entire GA fleet.

"Replacing today's avgas with a new fuel is a critical issue and must be carefully thought through by the agencies involved," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "Right now there isn't an unleaded fuel that would meet the needs of the entire fleet without requiring aircraft modifications or decreasing aircraft performance and utility."

AOPA participates as a member in both the Coordinating Research Council and ASTM International, a not-for-profit organization that facilitates voluntary consensus standards for things like aviation fuel, to come up with safe alternatives. The association also helps secure funding through Congress each year for the FAA to test possible replacement fuels at its William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J.

The Friends of the Earth wanted the EPA to make a finding that lead emissions from GA aircraft endanger public health and welfare and to issue emission standards.

"At the meeting I attended last week, it was clear that the EPA is working with the FAA and other industry groups on this issue," said Rob Hackman, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs. "We're committed to helping the agency understand the impact this could have on the GA fleet and provide information to help ensure a viable GA community well into the future."

Right now, the EPA is not undertaking a study but is requesting environmental and health information from the public. For more information about sending comments to the EPA, see the notice.

November 14, 2007