Aviation industry responds to the California’s Center of Environmental Health’s suit

May 12, 2011 at 8:05 am | Posted in Aviation Law Current Event | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: AVweb

News of the California environmental group Center of Environmental Health’s (CEH) intent to sue California avgas suppliers was met Wednesday with some no-nonsense opposition from GAMA, a member of the General Aviation Avgas Coalition. GAMA argued in a statement that state-level action on the matter is basically a non-starter. The organization said “Congress has reserved to the Federal government,” via the FAA, “the right and responsibility to regulate all aviation activities in the U.S.” If allowed to proceed, GAMA suggests that a state-level lawsuit could lead to “a patchwork of state regulations governing fuels pilots may or may not use in their piston-powered aircraft.” And, says GAMA, federal agencies are already addressing the problem of leaded aviation fuel. CEH is not worried about the jurisdictional issues. In a podcast interview with AVweb, CEH’s Director of Research Caroline Cox says there’s nothing in the California law the group is using that gives the Feds an exemption. She also said the group’s prime motivation is to be a player in the eventual elimination of lead in avgas and won’t necessarily pursue the suit if it believes discussions are headed in the right direction. However, if it does go to court and the oil companies and FBOs lose, CEH will get a 25-percent share of any civil penalties imposed and she said that provision is part of the funding strategy for the small ($1.7 million annual budget) non-profit organization. [Full story]

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