Sullivan fights Biden Administration’s FAA plan to punish Alaska’s small plane owners over leaded fuel

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Sen. Dan Sullivan struck out in anger over a Biden Administration rule that could end up grounding essential small planes in Alaska, due to the fact that many of them require leaded aviation fuel.

During a hearing on the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration, Sullivan slammed his hand on a table and yelled at Democratic Sen. Tom Carper and his staff. Carper, of Delaware, heads up the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and has been pushing the environmental agenda.

There are 8,734 registered aircraft in Alaska, making up 3% of all U.S. registered aircraft — 12 planes for every 1,000 Alaskans. More than 200 communities in Alaska are not reachable by road.

“I’m getting tired of my state being singled out by this staff, Democrat staff, on everything,” Sullivan yelled. “This goes to safety of my constituents. And you guys jump in at the last minute, and I’m so goddamn sick of it. Anything that deals with Alaska, you feel it’s open season because the radical environmental groups want to shut my state down. It’s wrong. It’s bull—, and I’m really mad about it!”

Sullivan has been advocating for legislative language to allow Alaska aircraft owners more time to transition from standard leaded aviation fuel, which is what nearly all small planes use in Alaska. The Environmental Protection Agency is mandating no leaded aviation fuel by 2030, and Sullivan has asked that Alaska be given an extension until 2034. Engines in existing planes will need to be completely replaced.

The matter at hand is a result of the FAA’s “Eliminate Aviation Gasoline Lead Emissions” (EAGLE) program, implemented in 2022 to phase out leaded aviation fuel in eight years.

“I’m sick of Alaska being the target of Senate Democrats and this president at nearly every possible opportunity—all to appease their environmental activist friends with heavy wallets—aka eco-colonialists,” Sullivan said. “They say they care about the rights of Indigenous Americans, yet they don’t listen to their concerns, and they undermine their economic opportunities and safety all the time because that’s what the eco-colonialists do.”

Sullivan explained it on X/Twitter: Here’s what’s happening this time: Alaska has over 200 communities not connected by road, making aviation a matter of life and death for thousands of Alaskans. I secured a provision in the FAA reauthorization bill providing Alaska a four-year extension from the national EPA requirement to transition off of standard leaded aviation fuel, recognizing a state as reliant on older aircraft as Alaska could not feasibly implement this mandate in that timeframe. Even with this extension, this transition will be extremely difficult and expensive. The Chair and Ranking Member of the Commerce Committee—Democrat Maria Cantwell and Republican Ted Cruz—both supported this exemption. But, without any data supporting the move, the EPW Committee Democratic staff slashed Alaska’s four-year implementation extension in half. Doing the bidding of far-left environmental groups, national Democrats are targeting Alaska and endangering the lives of Alaskans. What about the safety of rural Alaskans? It is shameful.”

31 COMMENTS

  1. You guys surprised. Why. The federal government own Alaska. You don’t like it. Stop taking so much money from the federal government.

      • Why won’t it “change anything”?
        We get off the federal teat and watch the federal influence wane. No financial extorsion equals freedom and State’s rights take precedence once again.

    • I couldn’t agree more! They simply blackmail us once the money is given and spent! There is far too much federal money flowing into AK as well as the rest of the US and the rest of the world!!!

    • RINO Sullivan helped empower Biden early on by voting for Biden’s infrastructure bill.
      Nothin’ is free Sullivan – grow up.
      And while you are at it STOP the war mongering – you keep voting for the Ukraine War packages – emboldening Biden yet again!
      It’s really getting hard to take you seriously as a “conservative”…

    • He was pretending to be a conservative.
      If you look at his voting record he never fails to support expanding the size of the federal government, financing wars around the globe, open borders, and free trade.
      He’s the “El Capitan” of the Uni-Party!

      • DoneWithIt,
        Credit Danny boy for his passion here. I think if anything after watching this video it points out who really runs our elected Representatives, Ideologically motivated Staff Members.

  2. Glad to see your on top of it Dan. Yup gas stuff is way more important then Fentanyl or the invasion at our boarders. You’ve got your top priorities. And I’ve voted for you for the last time maybe you can research menopause With Lisa

  3. We need to get lawyers to sue other states that have these legislatures that vote against Alaska for any construction building or use of any environmentally impacting event can stop it.
    Next we need to just take the rest of our land owed to us sense statehood and tell the feds to go pound sand.

  4. Shell is developing an unleaded 100-Octane piston engine fuel. Instead of complaining Dan, get on board with helping Alaska fuel suppliers and aircraft owners/operators with the transition. Tomorrow is coming and you cannot stop it or delay it.

    • Aircraft engine designs have done better with leaded fuel. There is already a 100LL (low lead) fuel. Considering the cost of engines…. keeping the lead in is more than practical and the environmental impact is less than the psychological distress to the Dem’s precious democracy.

  5. Lead content in fuel for bush planes in Alaska is right up there in importance wit Lisa’s menopause problem. This is one of those times that Alaska just needs say “no” to the feds. Tell them to shove it.

    • I think it’s more insidious than even Lisa’s silly menopause concerns. I believe this rule is directed at the destruction of civil aviation. This measure will drive up the cost of owning and operating a personal aircraft, that is its ultimate goal.

  6. Senator Sullivan says that he wants to extend the used of toxic leaded aviation fuel as if they don’t, they will “endanger the lives of Alaskans”. They’ve been drinking EAGLE kool aide as there is no danger in this being done much sooner. GAMI G100UL is now commercially available for all of these planes. What Dan Sullivan, Maria Cantrell and Ted Cruz that Alaska general aviation (GA) planes put out 7.5 tons of lead emissions into the breathable air every year. Alaska has led the way over the years in stopping the change to unleaded fuel as they claimed the exact same things they do now and have done nothing to change the lead.
    In 1975 the entire automobile fuel went to unleaded fuel available throughout the entire US. It was done to make way for the new cars that had catalytic convertors which could not burn the leaded fuel. They did this in less than 2 years. Sen Sullivan says that it is only feasible to do in another 10 years – at the expense of the children in Alaska. They have their priorities backwards. Which Alaskan lives are in danger?

    • A couple of factual corrections: First, the transition to unleaded gasoline for cars took 20 years, not 2 – leaded fuel was not outlawed until 1996 in the United States although it was quite uncommon by the late 1980s; before then it was however commonplace for gas stations to sell both “regular” and “unleaded”.
      .
      Second, while it is true that G100UL has an STC which supposedly applies to all airframe/engine combinations the fuel is not yet commercially available. It is targeted to be deployed this year starting in California but it will take time to develop a distribution network that covers the entire country (and particularly Alaska). Aircraft owners are also required to pay for the STC in order to legally use G100UL.

    • Gary Keller, One reads reports about evidence of Manchurian dust found in Alaskan Glacial Ice Cores that correlate with the beginning of wide spread agriculture in China. One also hears about an uptick of heavy metal concentrations in Western Alaskan watersheds that coincide with Chinese
      Industrialization. Could China be dropping much more pollution on Alaska than the measly 7.5 tons you claim by General Avation? The answer is exponentially more pollution comes from China. Where is your plan to fix that?

      There is a thing called perspective Sir, maybe you should look into it?

  7. Let’s stick to some basic facts regarding this issue:
    .
    1. No one wants to eliminate lead from aviation fuel more than pilots and their passengers. The toxic effects of lead are well-known and we are exposed to it day-in and day-out.
    .
    2. Lead (specifically the compound tetraethlyl-lead) is added as an octane booster, but that’s not all it does. When leaded fuel is burned in an engine a coating of lead is deposited on surfaces during combustion and some engines designed in the era of leaded fuels are actually designed around this and won’t function properly without it. Ask anyone with an antique car and many of them add a “lead substitute” to the fuel.
    .
    3. Aviation fuels must function reliably over a much larger range of temperatures and pressures compared to automotive fuel, and many of the modern octane boosters added to (unleaded) automotive fuel are simply too volatile for an aviation environment. Ethanol in particular is not suitable as an additive due to its tendency to absorb water from the air.
    .
    4. Different aircraft engines have different requirements and many are already certified to use unleaded automotive gasoline (without ethanol) instead of avgas, but many others are not. In the 1970s and 1980s there were as many as four different grades of avgas on the market, each with a different octane rating and lead content (lower octane fuels generally had less lead). Today, however, the market for avgas is much smaller due to the fact that there are virtually no piston-engined airliners in service today and it is therefore no longer economically feasible to produce more than one grade of avgas; producers sell the one grade that works with all aircraft even though many engines would function just fine with a lower grade. Any replacement fuel would need to be similarly suitable for the entire fleet as it would not be economical to produce two different fuels for such a small market.
    .
    5. Unlike cars, most small airplanes flying today were built in the 1970s and most of those will continue to be airworthy for some time. We therefore cannot depend on the natural attrition of the fleet to accomplish a relatively painless transition to unleaded avgas.
    .
    6. Regarding why the change would take so long, it all comes down to certification testing. Each engine was originally certified to use a certain fuel, and each engine must undergo extensive testing to be recertified with a different fuel. Remember all the times you were stuck on the side of the road in your car? Well, in an airplane each one of those times represents a crash. It is therefore critical to allow enough time to test each engine/fuel combination across all anticipated conditions for the safety of passengers and crews. Progress is being made but the public and the government need to show patience and allow the process to play out. As I said above, we all want this but we want it to be done in a way that is safe and doesn’t result in the grounding of large portions of the fleet.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful response, AK Pilot. I fly too, and have never liked the business of checking for water in the tanks with the sumps. (13 fuel sumps on a C-172.) Each time you are draining a bit of fuel, and then dumping it on the ground. How many times has it sloshed on your hand? That this fuel has lead in it doesn’t help.

      Here’s what Shell says about their new fuel:

      “At the time of writing, Shell is working on the development of an unleaded Avgas which has an octane performance equivalent to, or better than, that of Avgas 100LL.

      The intent is for this grade to be a complete unleaded replacement for the leaded grades Avgas 100LL and Avgas 100 but testing and development work is continuing to demonstrate the suitability of this fuel for fleet-wide application.

      At the time of writing, this fuel is not commercially available but is controlled by the specification ASTM D7960.”

  8. Remember the goal of these technocrat fascists is to funnel ALL people into smart cities. They will accomplish their goals by using environmentalism, weather modification warfare against rural populations, canceling insurance policy renewals, the shutting down of resources like oil and coal, destroying farming/food production, economic collapse of currency, controlled bio weapon release on agriculture/humans and lastly hot war. By the
    time they are done with their agenda the rural communities will be decimated and will have no choice but to migrate into the 15 min smart cities. The technocrat elites have waged war against humanity and people better wake up to reality fast otherwise we will loose and humanity will be nearly extinct. Remember tyrants of the past wanted to enslave humanity to enrich themselves; however, the tyrants of today want you, your children and your grandchildren dead and off “their” planet. These tyrants dream of killing off nearly everyone alive, merge with machines and replace humanity with robots. Do you see the danger we are all in? Can we finally stop fighting each other by their propaganda of division and come together as the human race and expell these WEFers once and for all?

  9. So where are they going to get the pilots to fly Air Force 1 and commercial airlines since all military/civilian pilots have to have been taught in small air planes to get their private pilots license? Why isn’t Mary getting involved since small pilots support native villages, and her husband was a private pilot. Of course you could keep the DEI pilots Didn’t earn it.

  10. While I admire Sullivan’s passion here, it is time to get the lead out. The use of tetraethyl lead in fuel has led to a mass poisoning of America and other nations stupid enough to add a toxic metal to fuel that was then dispersed in tail-pipe exhaust literally, everywhere a car went.

    This has led to the reduction of IQs across the planet. There is a good video that explains the insanity of this here:

    ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IV3dnLzthDA

    What may be needed are some federal grants to speed up the process of getting lead out of aviation fuel.

  11. Thank you, Senator Sullivan.
    .
    These alternatives may be workable:
    .
    First, confirm that FAA has stautory authority to issue and enforce EAGLE.
    .
    Second, propose permanent exemption for every American registered aircraft manufactured before a certain year, which require complete engine changeout to comply with EAGLE.
    .
    Third, propose individual, nontaxable subsidies to American aircraft-owners, taken from EPA’s and FAA’s budget allocations, to underwrite cost of engine changeout in American registered and manufactured aircraft to comply with EAGLE.
    .
    Fourth, require FAA to forbid the operation in American airspace of foreign-registered and manufactured aircraft which do not comply with EAGLE.
    .
    Fifth, enact an export ban on leaded aviation-fuel so other countries don’t profit from American-made products which Americans are forbidden to use.
    .
    Remember Leader Pelosi saying of the Affordable Care Act, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”?
    .
    Why not embed these recommendations in every multi-thousand page appropriations bill going forward, near the bill’s end, we suggest, by which time the attention spans of even its most intrepid readers should have expired?

  12. I recommend watching the movie “Logan’s Run” to see where the World Economic Forum wants us, at least before they start killing us off for their 500 million maximum. As for the AV GAS problem, AK Pilot has stated the problems pretty well. Many of the small planes are owned by people who are not rich and just able to support the planes they have. Many of these people live out in the bush and their planes are a necessity for food and other supplies. There are some planes out there that even predate the 1970’s. So if the democrats in particular want to speed this up, they will also have to appropriate the money for the engine refit for these planes. The real problem with these types of laws is that they are usually drawn up by people who are lawyers from urban environments who have no experience living away from a city. Most of them are not pilots, either. But they get more votes from their environmentalist friends and keep their jobs in Congress. The problem is that voters do not demand more accountability and keep voting these idiots back in. We must be more vigilant.

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