Environmental groups want early release of EPA report on 100LL

Less than one month after a U.S. District Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must have sufficient time to prepare a report on the public health effects of lead emissions from general aviation (GA) aircraft, environmental groups have filed a petition seeking to overturn the decision and force the early release of that data.

The court’s March 27 decision came in response to a March 2012 lawsuit filed by Friends of the Earth (FOE), which sought the release of an accelerated endangerment finding on GA emissions, as requested by a 2006 petition by the group, according to a report on the National Business Aviation Association website.

The environmental group wanted to see the results of the report ahead of the agency’s planned release of those findings in the second half of 2015. The latest petition by FOE asserts that EPA already has sufficient evidence about the dangers of leaded fuels. Physicians for Social Responsibility and Oregon Aviation Watch joined with FOE in filing the petition to force release of the endangerment report.

“The only showing required for a finding of ‘endangerment’ is that lead emissions from aircraft engines fueled by leaded aviation gasoline cause, or contribute to, air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare,” the petition states.

NBAA’s Chief Operating Officer Steve Brown noted that the environmental groups’ ultimate goal is to reverse the EPA’s decision to maintain the availability of leaded aviation gasoline (100LL) while pursuing a safe and responsible process in seeking unleaded fuel alternatives.

Brown also highlighted the collaborative effort between the EPA, the FAA and the GA industry to develop an unleaded alternative to traditional avgas. NBAA is among a diverse group of members of the Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative, which is working to identify a drop-in replacement for 100LL, an option that would not require extensive modification of existing piston aircraft power plants in the fleet.

“The government and our industry are committed to finding a workable solution,” Brown said. “Congress has repeatedly funded research into alternative fuels, many of which are bio-based and would not contain lead. Also, they have specifically funded research into drop-in alternatives and new fuel blends, some of which are slated to enter the testing phase in June.”


  1. David Gaeddert says

    People, uspto.gov, #8,556,999, let’s get to work! The Lycoming website helps explain why they are so fussy about fuel for their engines.

  2. Tom says

    The simple idea that mogas is the best way to fuel most of general aviation airplanes is just basic and why the powers don’t see it and do something about it is ridiculous. It takes the lead out and gives us a bigger supply to draw from that will keep prices down. It’s almost like they can’t see the forrest because of the trees. I haven’t seen one reasonable argument against the mogas replacement for 100LL. Totally ridiculous.

  3. Greg W says

    A wide spread campaign to promote the use of mogas would drop lead emissions considerably. Up to 80% of piston aircraft could use it, of the remaining 20% some of them could use mogas as well by utilizing an ADI (water injection) system as STC’d by AirPlains/Petersen Aviation. A 100 replacement is desirable but it is not necessary for the vast majority of piston aircraft. The desire to avoid simple answers by the “alphabets” is evidenced by the AOPA sweepstakes Debonair. They had the engine converted from the original 80 oct. to a slightly more powerful 100 oct. only version. The airplane functioned fine for 51 years with an “80” engine why switch to “100” only, now that 100 LL is threatened, if not just to promote a political end.

  4. Kent misegades says

    If we had any real leaders in the aviation alphabets, this problem could have been avoided years ago by a vigorous campaign to switch the 80% of piston planes that can now burn mogas over to the fuel. Then support the development of STCs for the remaining 20%, which is all technically possible with existing technology from Petersen Aviation. The aviation alphabets (excluding LAMA and USUA) share all the blame for this mess. No wonder GA is in decline.

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