Industry Responds to CA 100LL Suit

It was clear from the beginning that the Center of Environmental Health’s intent to sue California avgas suppliers was a fund raising strategy. We strongly suggest that you get the word out to insure no one donates to this Eco-Zealot organization looking for a means to fund itself regardless of the cost to aviation in California.

AvWeb Article –
Industry Responds to CA 100LL Suit

News of the California environmental group Center of Environmental Health’s (CEH) intent to sue California avgas suppliers was met Wednesday with some no-nonsense opposition from GAMA, a member of the General Aviation Avgas Coalition.

GAMA argued in a statement that state-level action on the matter is basically a non-starter. The organization said “Congress has reserved to the Federal government,” via the FAA, “the right and responsibility to regulate all aviation activities in the U.S.”

If allowed to proceed, GAMA suggests that a state-level lawsuit could lead to “a patchwork of state regulations governing fuels pilots may or may not use in their piston-powered aircraft.” And, says GAMA, federal agencies are already addressing the problem of leaded aviation fuel.

CEH is not worried about the jurisdictional issues. In a podcast interview with AVweb, CEH’s Director of Research Caroline Cox says there’s nothing in the California law the group is using that gives the Feds an exemption. She also said the group’s prime motivation is to be a player in the eventual elimination of lead in avgas and won’t necessarily pursue the suit if it believes discussions are headed in the right direction. However, if it does go to court and the oil companies and FBOs lose, CEH will get a 25-percent share of any civil penalties imposed and she said that provision is part of the funding strategy for the small ($1.7 million annual budget) non-profit organization.

The FAA and EPA are already working with engine manufacturers, fuel producers, consumers and suppliers, to address a transition away from leaded fuel. And that transition, says GAMA, should be organized at a federal level. At the heart of the issue is safety of flight. The FAA is working through the Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee to address issues ranging from certification to production and distribution of new fuels, while also accounting for economic and environmental concerns. As far as GAMA is concerned, federal action supported by industry input is the way to assure continued safe operation of aircraft as we transition away from leaded fuel. The Avgas Coalition itself has not issued a statement because several of its members are potential litigants in the suit.


EAA reacts as part of GA Avgas Coalition

May 11, 2011 —The Oakland, California-based Center for Environmental Health (CEH) provided notice early this week that it intends to sue 50 fuel retailers and suppliers (including subsidiaries and affiliates) for violating California’s drinking water and toxic enforcement law, based on the suppliers’ distribution of aviation gasoline, which contains a lead additive. The aviation members of the General Aviation Avgas Coalition, which includes EAA, are exploring all options for supporting the named fuel retailers and suppliers.

Because the National Airspace System belongs to the people of the United States and benefits the entire country, Congress has reserved to the Federal government, through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the right and responsibility to regulate all aviation activities in the U.S. The threatened CEH lawsuit in California raises the specter of a patchwork of state regulations governing fuels pilots may or may not use in their piston-powered aircraft.

Equally important, at the heart of the federal aviation gasoline fuel standard is safety of flight – ensuring that the engine of an aircraft in flight does not suffer a catastrophic failure.

The FAA, the federal agency with oversight for general aviation, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the federal agency with oversight for environmental concerns including aircraft emissions, are working with the general aviation industry – including aircraft and engine manufacturers, fuel producers and developers, and representatives of fuel suppliers and consumers – through the FAA’s Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) to address the transition to an unleaded fuel. The ARC is working through a host of factors, with safety paramount, for transitioning to an unleaded fuel. These include certification, production, and distribution, as well as environmental and economic concerns.

It is imperative that the issues surrounding the safe and effective transition to an unleaded fuel be addressed at the Federal level, and that the FAA and EPA be the agencies that address those concerns.

The potential for this type of legal action at the state level highlights the necessity of FAA leadership, EPA involvement, and industry input to continue the safe transition to a new fuel.

The lead content of aviation gasoline has already been reduced by 50% since the federal Clean Air Act was passed. But even as the general aviation industry works toward an unleaded solution, the Avgas Coalition has taken steps to further reduce the lead content as an interim improvement, developing a Very Low Lead fuel standard that will allow for a further 20 percent reduction in the maximum amount of lead in the fuel without adversely affecting air safety.

Because several of their members are named as potential litigants, petroleum industry representatives to the GA Avgas Coalition did not join aviation industry representatives in issuing this statement.

 


 

CalPilots Editor’s Note: The last sentence in the fourth paragraph of the first article is the real motivation behind this potential legal action. We strongly suggest that everyone get the word out to insure no one donates to this bogus Enviro-Zealot organization.

 

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