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.