The environmental group Friends of the Earth (FOE) has sued the EPA asking for the regulation of lead emissions from general aviation aircraft under the Clean Air Act, and Wednesday, AVweb spoke to a lawyer on the case. According to attorney Marianne Engelman Lado, "The sky is not falling and no one is even calling for shutting down an industry." Lado said the action is meant to precipitate a two-step process. The GA Avgas Coalition has responded.
Lado told AVweb that FOE recognizes aviation as "the single largest source of lead emissions in the United States." FOE is seeking to phase out lead as an additive to aviation fuel and multiple aviation interests are working toward that end. As a first step toward that goal, FOE hopes the EPA will "make an endangerment finding." The second step would see authorities engage in rulemaking to regulate lead additives to avgas. FOE wants the government to deliver a plan "with real deadlines in it," Lado said, and FOE believes "the starting point is the EPA."
The GA Avgas Coalition, which includes AOPA, EAA, GAMA, NBAA and NATA, said the lawsuit "was not unexpected and does not threaten the near-term availability of leaded fuel." The coalition says, "the FAA, not the EPA, will have the final regulatory authority over any potential change" to avgas. The FAA has already established the Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee, which is charged with producing recommendations to further development and deployment of an unleaded avgas. The coalition's position is that "the FAA, EPA and the industry must be allowed to work together to make the safest transition to the most viable unleaded fuel." More to come... .