The leaders of five aviation organizations have sent a letter to Congress urging support for the development of alternatives to leaded avgas in the FAA’s fiscal 2013 budget.
The EPA is considering curtailing the use of leaded aviation fuel, and environmental groups have stepped up legal action designed to outlaw avgas. In their letter, the associations urged the House Appropriations Committee to support the work of the Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee, chartered by the FAA in January 2011 to study the avgas issue and provide recommendations. That work has been completed, and the panel is expected to release its report soon.
“FAA involvement is absolutely critical to identify and transition the general aviation piston fleet to a new unleaded avgas,” the association executives wrote in the letter. “This activity is also needed to ensure technical and safety cooperation with EPA as it considers regulatory action to address lead emissions from general aviation under the Clean Air Act. In fact, last week an environmental group filed a lawsuit against EPA to force them to make an endangerment finding and to issue regulations limiting lead emissions.”
In the lawsuit, the environmental group Friends of the Earth alleges that the EPA has delayed its response to a 2006 petition asking the agency to propose standards for lead emissions of aircraft. If successful, the lawsuit could force EPA to consider a ban of avgas use on a court-ordered timeline.
Signing the letter were Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association President Craig Fuller; Experimental Aircraft Association President Rod Hightower; General Aviation Manufacturers Association President Pete Bunce; National Business Aviation Association President Ed Bolen; and National Air Transportation Association President Jim Coyne.