Environmental group Friends of the Earth filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), charging the agency with failure to respond to its 2006 petition requesting the regulation of lead emissions from GA aircraft under the Clean Air Act. In the petition, the group asked the EPA to rule that emissions from aircraft that burn leaded fuel may pose a threat to public health. According to the group, nearly six years later, there has been no final action from the agency. “The EPA’s continuing failure to do what the law requires and address this pollution leaves us no choice but to take this critical public-health issue to the courts,” said Marcie Keever, the group’s legal director. If successful, the legal action will force the EPA process for a potential hazard ruling onto a court-ordered timeline.
In response, an industry coalition formed by most of the aviation alphabet groups cited work done toward the development and deployment of an unleaded replacement fuel, and noted that final regulatory authority for all aviation fuel changes lies with the FAA, not the EPA. “Despite the lawsuit, the near-term availability of leaded aviation fuel is not threatened in any way,” the coalition said.
This latest lawsuit follows an action filed last year by the Center for Environmental Health, a California-based environmental action group that is seeking the ban of leaded avgas sales in the state, along with possibly millions of dollars in punitive damages claims against FBOs and fuel distributors.