The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday told the General Aviation Avgas Coalition that it will work with the GA industry and the FAA in the search for a safe, viable alternative to 100LL. The commitment to work with industry came in a written response to several questions submitted to the agency by the avgas coalition, according to officials with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
Additionally, the EPA has not set a date for outlawing leaded avgas. In fact, the “EPA does not have authority to control aviation fuels,” Margo Tsirigotis Oge, director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, said in a letter to the coalition.
The EPA, she notes, is responsible for determining which chemical or physical properties of a fuel or fuel additive endangers the public health. But only the FAA has the authority to regulate which fuels aircraft may burn. “The EPA is coordinating closely with FAA as we evaluate emissions of lead from piston-engine aircraft,” she said in the letter.
“Finding a safe, viable alternative that works all the way from the refining process to aircraft operation remains a daunting task,” said Rob Hackman, AOPA’s vice president of regulatory affairs. “Twenty years of focused research has failed to identify a simple ‘drop-in’ solution. So now the coalition is working to establish a process for evaluating fuels from a production, distribution, economic, operational, and environmental standpoint.”
Finally, the EPA assured the coalition that it recognizes the value of general aviation, and especially piston-powered general aviation, to the nation and the national economy.
”EPA recognizes the value of piston-engine general aviation throughout the United States and specifically in remote regions,” wrote Oge. “Any EPA action to require piston-engine aircraft to reduce emissions of lead in the future will involve a thorough public process of identifying options and will consider safety, economic impacts and other impacts. The EPA is committed to working with these stakeholders to keep piston-engine aircraft flying in an environmentally acceptable and safe manner throughout the United States.”
“The EPA has worked closely with (the) industry to understand the issues involved in finding a solution ever since it issued its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking earlier this year,” concluded Hackman. “Now we have written confirmation that they intend to continue that relationship throughout the process that will likely result in an unleaded avgas.”
For more information: EPA.gov