Environmental groups file yet another anti-avgas petition

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three environmental groups filed a petition April 22 asking the Environmental Protection Agency to take action against the continued use of leaded aviation gasoline.

Friends of the Earth, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Oregon Aviation Watch have called on the EPA to take the first step needed to begin to regulate lead emissions from aircraft.

“It is astonishing that, given EPA’s understanding of the serious health effects of lead exposure and its recognition of general aviation aircraft as the single largest source of lead emissions, this toxic pollution stream remains unregulated,” said Marcie Keever, legal director at Friends of the Earth. “We have been continually frustrated with EPA’s delay, and more than that, shocked that EPA allows the health of airport workers, pilots, passengers, and the communities surrounding these airports to remain unprotected from a known poison.”

Friends of the Earth, represented by public interest law firm Earthjustice and the Environmental Law and Justice Clinic at Golden Gate University School of Law, has been urging EPA to make an endangerment finding regarding lead emissions from general aviation aircraft since 2003.

EPA denied an earlier petition from Friends of the Earth, stating that it was not ready to determine whether lead emissions from aircraft contributed to pollution that may endanger public health.

“An endangerment finding rests on meeting just two criteria: one that lead emissions from aircraft engines fueled by leaded avgas cause or contribute to air pollution, and two, that the air pollution from those lead emissions is reasonably anticipated to endanger the public health or welfare,” said Earthjustice attorney Bridget Lee. “Both of these conditions have been met and, in fact, substantiated by EPA already. EPA’s contention that it must complete additional studies before making an endangerment finding is not supported by the law or the facts.”

The FAA and the aviation industry has been working for the last few years to find an unleaded alternative to 100LL. The FAA has continually claimed that it has jurisdiction over the fuel used in aviation.

Read the petition here.


  1. David Gaeddert says

    Let’s look at the Lycoming website. Ethanol does not belong in airplane tanks for a number of reasons. A lot of the avgs is burned in engines that really need the full 100 octane. Inospec may get tired of the harassment, or may have an accident in their one plant that produces TEL. Let’s keep working.

  2. says

    Avgas lead is PEANUTS compared to CONTRAILS and how they damage the environment. Jets spewing out 700 deg temps into a -30 deg environment creating particulate matter that is blocking sunlight. FACT: When 911 shut down air traffic over the US for several days, years later environmental scientists noted that over the US, there was a 2 degree change in the average temperature for the period of no contrails.
    A few days ago, around 8 am EST, I looked east over Wash DC and 30 % of the sky was convered with contrails. Is the FAA going to ban high altitude flights? When are we going to have a national high speed rail system instead of the secret damages caused by airliners?

  3. James Morton says

    By discontinuing the use of avaition fuel with lead in it before there is a viable alternative will only creat havoc and a rush to something that may well do a lot of damage and could shut down the entire industry. We saw that happen with ELT’s back in the 60’s due to congresses medelling and we are just now finally recovering from that feasco. There are several very well respected sources working on a new fuel to take the place of what is currently available. Give them time and between them and the FAA we should have a good workable solution to the problem. Avaition fuel is not like auto fuel and they can’t just yank the lead out completely without getting approval from the FAA and lots and lots of testing unlike what they did with auto fuel. The sooner the EPA and those other groups understand this fact the better for everyone all around the table.

  4. says

    Bryan, I agree – most low compr. engines would run fine on 80/87 – old mo-gas before 10% ethanol and most will run fine on 10% ethanol too – it would just need stabilized if stored for long.

  5. Chris says

    And that’s the funny thing about it. Most pilots would be perfectly happy to burn something other than 100LL as long as it doesn’t reduce performance and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. No anti-aviation zealots required. I looked at the ‘Oregon Aviation Watch’ website. That guy wants TSA screeners to grope students on their way out to their potential terrorist weapon Cessnas. He’s only slightly more lucid than that Aviation Conspiracy schmuck that was on the web a few years ago.

  6. Bryan says

    So…91UL. Just do it. Do it now. Probably drop the cost of AvGas by $1/gallon, and shut these idiots up.

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