Chairman Khanna, Rep. Lofgren Praise Progress on Leaded Aviation Fuel and Renew Call for Cooperation with Subcommittee Investigation

Oct 11, 2022
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (October 7, 2022)—Today, Rep. Ro Khanna, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren issued the following statements after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed endangerment finding that lead emissions from aircraft that operate on leaded fuel cause or contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health:

 

“Putting a stop to lead pollution from the fuel used in piston-engine planes is an urgent environmental justice and public health issue,” said Rep. Khanna. “Communities like the one surrounding the Reid-Hillview Airport are exposed to airborne lead pollution every day from the planes that take off, land, and fly overhead.  The result is that kids in my district were found to have blood lead levels comparable to what we saw during the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.  I’m glad that after my Subcommittee shined a spotlight on this issue, the EPA has now taken the long overdue step of releasing the finding that leaded aviation fuel is harmful to human health.  After years of advocacy from impacted communities, the EPA granted Santa Clara County’s petition this past winter to begin this process to regulate leaded aviation gasoline under the Clean Air Act.  I invited the EPA and FAA to appear at a hearing in July of this year to update Congress on their progress.  I urge both agencies to cooperate with my Subcommittee’s investigation, provide transparency to Congress, and build on today’s progress to finally get leaded aviation fuel out of our communities.”

 

“Today’s EPA endangerment finding confirms something the families living near Reid-Hillview Airport sadly know all too well – leaded avgas is a dangerous pollutant,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren.  “Following this announcement, the momentum should speed up, not die down.  Federal leadership to ban leaded aviation fuel and address this environmental justice crisis is long overdue.”

 

On July 8, 2022, Chairman Khanna held a hearing to examine the negative health consequences of leaded aviation fuel and its impacts on American communities and the environment.  At the hearing, Members discussed how airborne exposure to lead, a toxic and highly probable carcinogen, can lead to adverse health effects that disproportionately impact low-income communities and communities of color. 

 

During the hearing, Members also highlighted the existence of viable fuel alternatives that could phase out leaded fuel and called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to approve the usage of such an alternative.  On September 2, 2022, the FAA approved the first unleaded aviation fuel that can be used by the entire fleet of small planes.

 

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117th Congress