Genav Groups Caution EPA on Transition from Leaded Avgas

 - January 19, 2023, 9:58 AM
In comments to the EPA's proposed endangerment finding on leaded avgas, seven general aviation groups cautioned on the need for a safe transition to unleaded fuel. (Photo: Steve Berry/NATA)

The general aviation community is committed to removing lead from aviation gasoline by the end of this decade but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must ensure that any endangerment finding and subsequent ban on its use enables a safe and orderly transition to unleaded avgas, a group of seven industry organizations said. In joint comments on the EPA’s proposed endangerment finding, the groups further reminded the EPA that the FAA must be involved in regulation requiring the end of leaded avgas.

In October, the EPA issued a proposal to find that lead emissions from aircraft using 100LL “cause or contribute to lead air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health and welfare." Plans call for the EPA to issue any final endangerment finding this year, setting in motion follow-on actions that would ultimately end the use of lead in avgas.

Noting the target of eliminating lead by the end of 2030, and possibly sooner, the organization said the industry “recognizes that lead is detrimental to human health and that the communities surrounding airports should not bear a disproportionate burden.” However, they added that safety cannot be compromised, and premature removal of essential fuel would “economically destroy” the general aviation infrastructure.

“In the absence of readily-available and safe substitutes, EPA, the FAA, and the general aviation community must work together to ensure safe and efficient transition to lead-free fuels,” said the comments signed by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, National Air Transportation Association, National Business Aviation Association, and American Petroleum Institute.

The groups further urged that EPA, in coordination with the FAA, makes sure that regulatory actions do not “invite or motivate state, local, tribal, or territorial governments to take premature action by attempting to impose unlawful and preempted restrictions on the dispensation of 100LL aviation gasoline, pending the completion of the government-industry work described above and the deployment of a viable unleaded replacement for 100LL that meets the safety and operational requirements of the entire piston fleet.”