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Getting the Lead Out Later

Government Delays Introduction of Lead-Free Fuel.

(12/1/2002) In a move found disappointing to local environmentalists, the Government has said it will delay the mandatory introduction of lead free gas at Indonesian gas pumps until January 01, 2005. Lead-free petrol was originally mandated for introduction on January 01, 2003, via a Ministerial Decision published in 1999.

With Pertamina citing a lack of funds and delays in refinery modifications at the state-owned Pertamina refinery in Cilacap, West Java, Indonesia's Minister of the Environment, Nabiel Makarim, called on refiners to find alternatives to lead in domestic gas products in order to reduce the environmental damage caused by the poisonous by-product of internal combustion.

Local environmental groups have responded to the announced delay by threatening class action suits against Indonesia's Minister for Energy and Natural Resources and Pertamina, citing their failure to meet the government's self-imposed deadline for the introduction of lead-free gas.

The government is reportedly exploring an accelerated introduction of lead free gas for areas such as Bali, Batam, Surabaya and Semarang with a Pertamina Branded lead-free gas still promised for introduction in Bali in January of 2003.