NATA Concerned With Environmental Group's Actions On Avgas


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NATA Concerned With Environmental Group's Actions On Avgas

By Mike Mitchell

May 15, 2011 - This week, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH), an environmental group located in San Francisco, CA, has charged numerous aviation businesses in California, including aviation fuel suppliers and fixed base operators, with violating California state law for selling aviation gasoline, which contains lead.  

The notices indicate CEH?s intention to file a lawsuit under state law, and also include a proposed settlement to stop the lawsuit that includes halting the sale of aviation gasoline and payment, to CEH, of 25% of any ?civil penalty,? of up to $ 2.7 million, assessed.  

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) is very concerned about this attempt to use California state law to shut down the entire piston-engine general aviation industry in California through a suit that involves a private organization seeking monetary damages.

General aviation is a national resource that provides economic growth and jobs in thousands of California communities. This growth and these jobs are now endangered by one organization?s threat of a lawsuit and demands for monetary damages and an end to the sale of leaded aviation gasoline. 

Any environmental concerns arising from the sale and use of aviation gasoline belong under the purview of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Currently, both of these agencies, along with numerous industry stakeholders, are engaged in a collaborative process to address the issues arising from the use of leaded aviation gasoline. 

?NATA takes environmental concerns very seriously,? said NATA President James K. Coyne, ?but a single organization suing for monetary damages cannot be allowed to threaten an entire industry. NATA will continue its cooperative work with the EPA and FAA on addressing the long-term future of aviation gasoline in the United States and will support the general aviation industry in California against this attack.? 

CEH contends that residents near the airports are exposed to lead through air pollution from planes using leaded avgas, and in the case of seven of the airports, through nearby drinking water sources that are polluted by lead from avgas.

CEH has notified the oil companies that produce avgas used at the 25 airports and avgas suppliers at the seven airports with nearby drinking water sources that their sales of avgas are in violation of California?s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (known as Prop 65), which was established in 1986 to protect state residents from exposures to lead and other harmful chemicals (read more).

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