Avgas Battle Resurfaces with New Lawsuit

GA Avgas Coalition assures pilots fuel source is not currently threatened.



** Despite the recent lawsuit, industry leaders
say avgas will remain available.**

A lawsuit filed last week by the environmental protection group Friends of the Earth is drawing renewed attention to the debate over leaded avgas, prompting a number of aviation industry leaders to speak out in defense of the industry’s progress on the issue.

The suit, filed against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), alleges the EPA has not properly responded to a 2006 petition from Friends of the Earth calling for the designation of leaded avgas as a potential danger to public health and the subsequent regulation of the substance under the Clean Air Act.

In a statement issued by Friends of the Earth, attorney Marianne Engelman Lado called the EPA’s lack of appropriate action on the matter “inexcusable.”

“We are simply asking the EPA to move more quickly and definitely in establishing regulations that would protect millions from ill health caused by the known toxic effects of lead,” she said.

If the court rules in the group’s favor, the EPA may be required to make an evaluation of avgas’ threat to public health by a court-ordered deadline.

Members of the General Aviation Avgas Coalition, however, sought to reassure the GA community that the appropriate steps are being taken to address the issue, and that current accessibility to leaded avgas will not be limited by the recent legal measure.

“Despite the lawsuit, the near-term availability of leaded aviation fuel is not threatened in any way,” the General Aviation Avgas Coalition said in a recent statement.

The Coalition, which is comprised of AOPA, EAA, GAMA, NATA and NBAA, went on to say that since receiving the 2006 petition, the EPA has taken clear actions that have revved up the monitoring of lead emissions near certain sources, that have assisted in the industry's attempts to develop unleaded fuel sources and that have reduced the amount of lead emissions by as much as 93 percent in the past 30 years.