Several members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed a letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson requesting federal intervention on an intended lawsuit against FBOs and fuel distributors for supplying and using leaded aviation gasoline in the state of California.
The allegation, by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH), is that FBOs and fuel distributors failed to warn the public that avgas contains lead, violating the California Safe Drinking Water & Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop 65).
“The Prop 65 lawsuit will disrupt ongoing efforts by the FAA and EPA, who are working with industry groups to identify an alternative to leaded fuel that can be safely and reliably used by piston-powered airplanes,” the congressional letter states. The letter further points out that “the Prop 65 action would, if allowed to move forward, interfere with the national interest in ensuring uniform and workable regulation of aircraft engine emissions for the sake of aviation safety and our environment.”
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and a coalition of small business owners consisting of FBOs and fuel distributors have filed a lawsuit against the CEH, asking a federal court in Fresno, California, to stop the misuse of Prop 65 to regulate the supply and use of leaded avgas, said NATA President and CEO James Coyne.
“The coalition believes that federal law preempts the state of California from regulating in this area,” he said. “Any lawsuit under Prop 65 initiates state enforcement proceedings in California and can lead to imposition of huge civil penalties, which would cripple the small businesses that sell avgas. Aircraft have used leaded aviation gasoline under FAA and EPA regulations for decades.”
The letter was signed by House General Aviation Caucus Co-Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo), Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), Don Young (R-Alaska), Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), Aaron Schock (R-Ill), Tom Petri (R-Wis), Randy Hultgren (R-Ill), Chip Cravaack (R-Minn), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill), Billy Long (R-Mo), Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan) and Bill Flores (R-Texas).