The FAA has at least temporarily stopped its investigation into whether Santa Clara County in California is violating its grants agreement by refusing to sell leaded gasoline at county-owned Reid Hillview and San Martin Airport. In exchange, the county has agreed to consider taking part in a study into the transition process from leaded to unleaded fuels at airports across the country. The agency has agreed to stop its investigation until at least next August while Santa Clara officials mull over the FAA’s invitation.
They seem to be leaning toward being part of the study, however. “When the county banned the sale of leaded aviation gas at our airports, we did so to protect the health of those who live in our community, especially children, who have been unjustly exposed to harmful pollution for decades,” said County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, who represents the area surrounding Reid-Hillview Airport. “We would welcome the opportunity to showcase what we have done here in Santa Clara County, which can and should be replicated across the country.”
The airports only sell Swift Fuels 94UL because of a study the county commissioned that revealed slightly higher than average lead levels in children who live near the airport. The airports have received millions of dollars in FAA grants over the years and one of the stipulations of receiving the money is to provide the services and facilities necessary for safe aircraft operation.