A U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruling March 27, 2013, has freed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from having to make an accelerated endangerment finding on emissions from general aviation aircraft. This ruling will help ensure that efforts to find an unleaded replacement fuel will continue in a manner that will guarantee aviation safety.
The court ruled that the EPA has discretion to make endangerment findings under an important Clean Air Act provision, but cannot be forced to do so as “Friends of the Earth” had hoped. Friends of the Earth originally filed its lawsuit against the EPA in March 2012 over piston aircraft use of leaded avgas.
Members of the GA Avgas Coalition asserted that Friends of the Earth was not taking into consideration all the work being done to come to a long-term solution. Coalition members include the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, National Air Transportation Association, National Business Aviation Association, and Experimental Aircraft Association.
The Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee released a report on June 26, 2012 that outlined the hurdles facing the industry’s transition to an unleaded fuel for piston aircraft and addressed them with detailed suggestions.
To assist in the process of identifying an alternative fuel to 100LL, the FAA created a Fuels Program Office in September 2012.