There is no such thing as safe lead levels in our air, our water or our food.
I attended the Senate Environmental & Natural Resources committee hearing last Wednesday on SB 115 which if passed will prohibit the use of leaded fuel in general aviation airplanes by 2022. My friend Miki Barnes of Oregon Aviation Watch is a persistent advocate on this issue. She's worked for such a bill for three sessions and finally got a hearing with help from co-sponsors Senator Chuck Riley and Representative Mitch Greenlick.
Go to Materials/Exhibits to read the testimony on both sides....
As I listened to the critics of the bill, mostly older aged dudes like moi but unlike me who can afford to own "hobby" general aviation airplanes to hop around Oregon their comments were that this bill would end their ability as "hobby" aviators to enjoy their planes and help in rescue efforts especially in a major tsunami or the 'big one' - a subduction zone earthquake in Oregon. Their assumption that small municipal airports around the state and their planes would not be destroyed by such an event is laughable.
If you read their testimony they would rather protect the status quo which privileges a few rich white people (White privilege?) - than mitigate the harm done to children by leaded fuel. They barely acknowledged the problem - decide for yourself - read Miki's testimony et al.
Essentially these are poor little rich folk who live on private airports, sort of like gated golf courses, or who use local airports which dot the state to enjoy their flying habit. What was never mentionedl was the cost of enabling these high income folks to enjoy their hobby - millions from Connect Oregon - to keep local airports economically afloat while their bank accounts are in the red. This is in addition to the air pollution from leaded fuel which is a clear a present danger as was noted in testimony (see attached hearing).
"Since 2005 ConnectOregon has invested $407 million in non-highway related transportation projects. Per the Oregon Department of Transportation." Source Oregon Aviation Watch 2/21/17. I attended an ODT Connect Oregon project funding hearings two years ago - it's an insiders game and a boondoggle.
The hearing reminded me of the spin by the auto industry back in the day that 'non-leaded gasoline' would put the Big 3, its suppliers and gas companies and their local stations out of business. It didn't happen did it! We've all been waiting for the FAA/EPA to pass national rules that would fix this problem. But with the Drumpt administration in power and deregulation in vogue - that hope is dwindling everyday. So states must take up the slack. Measure 115 is the first step.
Frankly, I don't give 'a you know what' if private hobby pilots can't fly until we get non-leaded gas. What we did for cars we can surely do for piper cubs et al. In the meantime, let's stop the polluting of air especially around airports like Hillsboro which is surrounded by local neighborhoods, schools, child care centers and parks. If you want to fly your gas guzzling airplane - hanger it in a rural airport - not one surrounding the western suburbs of Portlandia. Go to Burns!
Just for the record, the private jets which fly out of Hillsboro airport servicing Nike, Intel et al use non-leaded fuel so they are not the problem. What is the problem is private flight training companies which train foreign born not US pilots in touch and go general aviation planes. Again, until we get non-leaded GA fuel - move these companies to rural airports and keep their air pollution away from densely populated communities like Hillsboro.
One final comment: After 9/11 we found out that the hijackers had been in flight training schools in Florida and California. I suggest DHS vet these "students" very carefully! The two Chinas are very sophisticated economies - why can't they train their own would-be pilots?