Calif. avgas lawsuit to await federal court ruling

July 20, 2011

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) announced that producers, distributors, and sellers of leaded avgas targeted for legal action in California will not face state-level lawsuits before their request for an injunction is heard in federal court in October.

NATA announced July 19 that following the filing of a counter claim by the aviation businesses—arguing that federal action to remove lead from avgas pre-empts a state-level lawsuit—the Center for Environmental Health agreed to wait until Oct.28 before pursuing its threatened lawsuit under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, also known as Proposition 65. The state attorney general also agreed not to sue over avgas without providing notice to the coalition, NATA said.

The coalition’s request for an injunction is scheduled to be heard in U.S. District Court in Fresno on Oct. 3. AOPA reported on the coalition’s request for an injunction, and NATA’s declaration of support for the aviation businesses, on July 1.

“NATA firmly believes that the regulation of the sale, content and use of aviation fuel is a federal matter and must be left to the FAA and Environmental Protection Agency. Currently, the FAA, EPA and industry are fully engaged in addressing the future of leaded aviation gasoline through an FAA-chartered aviation rulemaking committee. State intervention in this process, by way of private lawsuit, will only lead to a frustration of this effort and a patchwork of regulations across the country,” NATA’s statement said.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz | Aviation Writer

Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.