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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rep. Waxman Urges FAA to Act on General Aviation Fuel Emissions

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) is calling on FAA to encourage expanded use of unleaded fuels to reduce toxic lead emissions from general aviation aircraft.

In a letter sent to FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta, Waxman said leaded fuel from general aviation “AvGas” accounts for half of all lead air emissions in the U.S., presenting devastating health effects for lead emissions from general aviation at airports located in close proximity to residential areas.

FAA released a report in February that outlines steps to certify unleaded drop-in replacement fuel by 2018, however the report said it could be 11 years or more before the new fuel would become widely available to the general aviation community. Waxman believes the extended time frame is too long.

“This extended time-frame is simply too long, given the certain and serious harms to human health from lead exposure and the availability of alternatives to leaded fuels,” Waxman wrote.

The California lawmaker also referenced a recent study by the Aviation Fuel Club that said FAA has approved STCs permitting the use of unleaded automotive gasoline in over 80 percent of piston aircraft that are currently in operation. Waxman is proposing that FAA start promoting the use of currently available unleaded fuel to the general aviation community.

“It is essential for the FAA to develop and implement, in the near term, measures to facilitate the use of currently available unleaded fuel in general aviation,” Waxman added.

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