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EAA Joins Response to Leaded Avgas Ban Legislation in Washington State

EAA Joins Avgas Ban in Washington State

EAA has joined other general aviation associations in opposing a bill introduced in the Washington state House of Representatives that would ban the sale of leaded aviation gas in that state. The bill (WA HB1554) would, as of January 1, 2024, begin a phased-in restriction on the “selling, distributing, or otherwise making available to consumers” leaded avgas in Washington state. The restrictions would initially be placed on those airports in the areas of greatest population with additional restrictions culminating in a complete ban for the entire state in 2030. The letter signed by EAA, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Helicopter Association International (HAI), and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) was sent prior to a committee hearing on the bill held on February 1.

In the letter, the associations reaffirm the industry’s commitment to moving to a lead-free fuel. The groups also point out that a ban on leaded aviation fuel would cause an immediate threat to aviation safety in Washington state for owners and pilots of aircraft that require that fuel. Moreover, the legislation would bring an instant economic hardship for small businesses that sell fuel at airports, as pilots would avoid FBOs in Washington to get fuel just over the border in neighboring states and provinces.

“Progress is being made towards an unleaded future,” the letter states. “At the federal level, HAI, EAA, GAMA and NATA continue to co-lead the Eliminate Aviation Gasoline Lead Emissions (EAGLE) Initiative with the stated goal of removing lead by the end of 2030. EAGLE includes the FAA, industry, and other aviation advocacy organizations and is supported by Federal funding and industry in-kind support for the testing, evaluation, approval, and deployment of unleaded fuels.”

Brad Schuster, the northwest mountain regional manager from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), provided in-person and written statements in opposition to the bill. Schuster highlighted to the committee the safety and economic impacts this type of restriction could have on the state’s aviation infrastructure. Schuster was also able to answer questions from the committee to further explain the efforts under way by the industry to implement lead-free solutions.

The committee also heard additional statements in opposition to the bill. The Washington Public Ports Association, which includes approximately 34 airports in various state port authority jurisdictions, as well as the Washington State Department of Transportation, Interim State Aviation Directory also provided statements highlighting the safety and economic impacts these restrictions would have if the bill were to pass as drafted.

In opposing the legislation, the associations offer a better solution in supporting the ongoing EAGLE initiative and the encouragement of operational practices at airports that mitigate lead exposures whenever possible. The associations also welcome a dialogue and collaboration with the committee and ask they consider EAGLE and the associations as resources going forward.

EAA and the industry associations will continue to monitor developments regarding this bill and urges EAA members and pilots in Washington state to do the same.

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