California Democrat Rep. Henry A. Waxman sent a letter this week to Michael Huerta, Acting FAA Administrator, urging him to “expand the use of unleaded fuels to reduce toxic lead emissions from general aviation aircraft,” particularly around airports located near residential areas.
With input from the EPA, the FAA has committed to developing a replacement for leaded fuel by 2018, although it could take another decade or longer to fully phase in a new fuel.
“General aviation fuel now accounts for half of the lead emissions in the United States,” Waxman wrote in the Oct. 23 letter. “It is a major concern for residents living near the Santa Monica Airport. The FAA says it has a plan for a new fuel to be available in a decade or so, but there are unleaded alternatives available now for the vast majority of small aircraft. The FAA needs to do more to promote their use. We need to get the lead out today.”
A California environmental group, Friends of the Earth, is pushing for the elimination of leaded avgas through petitions and legal action.