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New Petition Calls For Action On Avgas Lead

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The EPA has been petitioned (PDF) to reconsider its current position on leaded aviation fuel and start the process to regulate lead emissions from general aviation aircraft. Friends of the Earth, Physicians for Social Responsibility and Oregon Aviation Watch filed the latest petition last week. An earlier petition filed by the three in 2006 was denied in 2012 but the groups say in their latest action there is overwhelming evidence that 100LL is causing health-threatening environmental lead pollution and urge the EPA to make the "endangerment finding" necessary to move with regulations. "There is no need for further study," the petition reads. "EPA has all of the evidence it needs to make an endangerment finding."

In its 2012 decision, the EPA said it needed more data to establish that people are being poisoned by lead in avgas emissions. It said existing data on lead concentrations near airports didn't differentiate between aircraft and other sources of lead and that it would need another three years to determine if lead emissions from aircraft engines pose a public health risk. Meanwhile, the high cost of 100LL has most engine and aircraft manufacturers investigating alternatives, including mogas, diesel and hybrid electric power, while the search for an unleaded replacement for avgas grinds on. Congress recently recommended increasing funding for the FAA's research into unleaded alternatives while Shell has said it already has one that meets all the applicable standards.

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