December 18, 2023

EPA Finalizes Lead Emission Findings

On October 20, 2023, EPA published a double final action on lead emissions. [88 FR 72372] First proposed in October 2022 (discussed in a previous article), the now-final action states the agency finds that 1) lead air pollution may “reasonably endanger public health and welfare,” and 2) engine aircraft emissions of lead cause or contribute to the lead air pollution that may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health and welfare. The culprits for these findings are the over 170,000 piston-engine aircraft that still burn leaded aviation fuel, known as avgas, the source of nearly 70% of the lead emissions in the United States.

The findings don’t result in emission limits themselves; rather, EPA now has a duty to promulgate emissions standards under CAA Section 231 for “covered aircraft engines,” those burning avgas. Once the agency promulgates CAA Section 231 emission standards, the FAA (part of DOT) must finalize regulations to ensure compliance with the EPA emission standards pursuant to CAA Section 232. Those future FAA regulations will set a standard for the composition and properties of aircraft fuel or fuel additives to control lead emissions.

Though these findings are effective November 20, 2023, the agency has no statutory deadline for proposing an associated emission standard. However, once proposed, the standard is to be finalized within 90 days per CAA Section 231(a)(3). More information is available on EPA’s website and via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2022-0389.


©2023-2024 McCoy and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.

McCoy and Associates has provided in-depth information to assist environmental professionals with complex compliance issues since 1982. Our seminars and publications are widely trusted by environmental professionals for their consistent quality, clarity, and comprehensiveness.



Considerable care has been exercised in preparing this document; however, McCoy and Associates, Inc. makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee in connection with the publication of this information. McCoy and Associates, Inc. expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use or for the violation of any federal, state, or municipal law or regulation with which this information may conflict. McCoy and Associates, Inc. does not undertake any duty to ensure the continued accuracy of this information.

This document addresses issues of a general nature related to the federal environmental regulations. Persons evaluating specific circumstances dealing with the environmental regulations should review state and local laws and regulations, which may be more stringent than federal requirements. In addition, the assistance of a qualified professional should be enlisted to address any site-specific circumstances.