Santa Clara County House Reps Call on the Biden Admin to Help Protect Vulnerable Communities from Lead Exposure
February 23, 2022
Ahead of Key Meeting, Lofgren, Eshoo, Khanna, & Panetta Condemn the FAA’s Prior Lack of Cooperation on the Aviation Gas Emission Environmental Justice Crisis, Specifically at Reid-Hillview Airport
SAN JOSE, CA— As local Santa Clara County leaders plan to meet with representatives from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on March 9, 2022, today, Santa Clara County’s Representatives in Congress – Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Ro Khanna (CA-17), and Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) – sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg calling on the DOT to make the nationwide elimination of leaded aviation gasoline (avgas) a priority to protect vulnerable communities.
The four Members of Congress expressed serious concerns about the federal government’s commitment to the environmental justice issue at play, pointing to the tragic situation near Reid-Hillview Airport in Santa Clara County. Lead exposure levels in the majority-minority area surrounding the airport are dangerously high, on par with or even worse than those found at the height of the Flint Water Crisis.
The Members wrote: “For the communities suffering daily from lead exposure due to avgas emissions, federal leadership to address this
environmental justice crisis is long overdue.”
In the letter, the Members condemned the FAA’s prior lack of cooperation on the environmental justice issue and cited examples whereby the FAA did not work with local governments to end the avgas crisis in disadvantaged communities between 2017 and 2022.
“We are concerned that the FAA’s actions are hindering local governments’ attempts to discontinue sale of the very fuel that is poisoning
disadvantaged communities of color with lead, rather than assisting with efforts to protect these communities from harm,” they wrote.
Lofgren, Eshoo, Khanna, and Panetta requested that the DOT swiftly directs the FAA to take four concrete actions to protect communities, including specific coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to adopt a nationwide ban on leaded avgas as soon as possible.
The text of the full letter to Secretary Buttigieg follows and can be downloaded here.