Coalition Calls For More Study On Leaded Avgas

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The Avgas Coalition, which is made up of aviation industry groups and petroleum industry organizations, has told EPA more study is needed to determine whether leaded aviation fuel actually poses a risk great enough to warrant an "endangerment finding." Such a finding would be the first step in banning lead from avgas. AOPA and the coalition both responded to EPA's Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and AOPA said in a statement it doesn't think there's enough evidence for the EPA to issue the endangerment finding. "The coalition comments highlight the need for sound data and a better understanding of the issue before we can develop an effective, scientifically sound roadmap that puts air safety first and foremost while attempting to address real environmental concerns," said AOPA President Craig Fuller. The fundamental issue is whether emissions from piston aircraft exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for lead. At the same time, however, AOPA's statement seems to accept as inevitable that leaded aviation fuel will go away. "The coalition will continue to work closely with the EPA and FAA to develop a plan to transition to an unleaded fuel that addresses safety, economic and environmental concerns," the statement said. The EPA didn't need that kind of long and complicated process to decide on how to deal with another source of environmental lead, however.

On Friday, the EPA rejected a petition from environmental groups calling for a ban on the use of lead in ammunition. In a statement, the EPA says it lacks the legal authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act to regulate lead in bullets. U.S. News and World Report suggested the quick and unexpected decision was more the result of protests by the National Rifle Association that the lead ban was just an underground attempt at gun control. The petition also identified lead fishing sinkers as a pollution hazard and the EPA says it has no jurisdictional problems getting to the bottom of that threat. Fishing groups have until Sept. 15 to comment.