The Environmental Protection Agency has heard the concerns of the general aviation industry about the potential elimination of lead in aviation fuel and a spokesman promised the impacts on GA will be at the forefront of future deliberations on the issue. Glenn Passavant told a forum on the future of aviation gas at AOPA Summit the agency is moving deliberately on the issue and not rushing the process. "We do not have a specific timeline for moving forward with a [Notice of Proposed Rulemaking]," Passavant said. He said EPA is working with the FAA and aviation groups and stressed the "endangerment finding" that would trigger legislative action is not imminent. In answer to a question from the floor, however, Passavant said he did not agree that such a finding is a foregone conclusion and suggested market forces might decide the fate of 100LL. He declined an interview with AVweb to discuss his presentation in more detail, saying such interaction with the media must be approved by the EPA's public affairs officials. EPA officials in Washington were unable to field our questions and referred us to their website.
Passavant said the EPA has now finished reviewing more than 500 comments received on an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) that was issued last April. The comment period closed in August. Passavant said the agency normally gets about 30 comments on ANPRMs. The most common sentiment is that piston engine aircraft owners want a replacement fuel that will have minimal operational and financial impact.