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Wed, Sep 14, 2011

House Bill Blasts Forced US Inclusion In EU Airline Emissions Scheme

Subcommittee Chair Calls The Carbon Trading Plan A "Violation Of U.S. Sovereignty"

The House Transportation and Infrastructure committee late last week passed H.R. 2594, the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011. Committee leadership calls the bill a strong bipartisan response to EU plans to impose a costly fee on any civil aviation operators landing in or departing from EU airports.

Under the scheme, flights into or out of an EU airport, regardless of how long that flight is in EU airspace, would be subject to the program’s emissions cap and trade requirements. U.S. airlines would be required to pay an emissions tax to the EU Member State to which they most frequently fly, without any requirements that EU countries even use these fees in emissions reduction efforts. It is scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2012.

The United States Government and Congress have objected to the forced participation in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The bill was introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL), Transportation Committee Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Tom Petri (R-WI), Aviation Subcommittee Ranking Member Jerry Costello (D-IL), and other Members of Congress.

H.R. 2594 directs the Secretary of Transportation to prohibit U.S. aircraft operators from participating in the ETS. The bill also instructs U.S. officials to negotiate or take any action necessary to ensure U.S. aviation operators are not penalized by any unilaterally imposed EU scheme. “The European Union’s inclusion of international civil aviation in its emissions trading scheme, including all segments of the flight whether in EU Member airspace or not, is a violation of U.S. sovereignty and international law,” said Petri. “Aviation is a global industry and demands global solutions, not unilateral action that amounts to nothing more than a cash-grab.”

“The unilateral imposition of the ETS is a clear violation of international law. We want to let the European Union know that we are not going to support this scheme and that we want a positive outcome by working with the international community,” said Mica.

The move drew a favorable response from the NBAA. "We appreciate the strong, united message this proposed legislation sends to the EU against the imposition of a new carbon tax on companies based outside its borders," said President and CEO Ed Bolen in a statement.

Bolen reiterated NBAA's position that international standards governing civil aviation should be enacted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). "Emissions policies, like all other matters pertaining to civil aviation, should be decided by the body that was created for that very purpose," he said.

"General aviation aircraft are cleaner, quieter and more fuel-efficient than ever before," Bolen noted. "The industry continues its decades-long effort to minimize its carbon footprint and NBAA welcomes both technological and operational advances that reduce emissions through the achievement of greater efficiencies."

FMI: http://trasportation.house.gov, www.nbaa.org

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