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Tell the EPA to ban leaded aviation gasoline

34,142
Supporters Spoke up in this Action
Michael Regan, EPA Administrator

Action Ended On

January 17, 2022

What Happens Next

Thank you to all who took action! We're grateful for your support.

What was at Stake

While the use of leaded gasoline in most cars was banned 25 years ago, leaded aviation gasoline is still used in nearly 170,000 piston-engine aircraft across 20,000 airports. EPA estimates that emissions from these airplanes account for about 70% of lead released into the atmosphere. 

The EPA has opened a comment period on its proposed endangerment finding on leaded avgas, which is the first step in the process to regulate lead pollution from piston-engine aircrafts. This proposed endangerment finding comes after over a decade of petitioning by community groups represented by Earthjustice. Send a letter to the EPA today to advocate for regulating this common source of lead pollution! 

Over 5 million people, including more than 360,000 children under the age of 5, live near at least one of the airports where piston-engine aircraft operate, according to the EPA. Multiple studies have shown that children who live near these airports have higher levels of lead in their blood. There is no safe level of lead exposure for children. Even in tiny amounts, children exposed to lead can suffer permanent and irreversible harm to the central nervous system, resulting in maladaptive behaviors, learning difficulties, mental illness, hearing and speech impairments, developmental delays, and other lifelong impairments. Most of the airports with the highest lead emissions are in communities of color.

This is not the first-time petition groups have filed on this issue which is why it is important to weigh in on this proposed endangerment finding. Tell the EPA to finalize this endangerment finding as soon as possible and quickly transition away from leaded avgas. 

Leaded gas used in small airplanes (commonly referred to as “avgas”) is the single largest source of lead emissions in the country.
Darryl Brooks, Shutterstock

Leaded gas used in small airplanes (commonly referred to as “avgas”) is the single largest source of lead emissions in the country.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.