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EPA Proposes First Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Aircraft

Proposal Supports Domestic Aircraft Manufacturing, Commonsense Regulation To Increase Global Competitiveness

Expected (and feared) for a while the EPA has proposed emissions standards for airplanes used in commercial aviation and large business jets.

This action will (allegedly) align U.S. standards with the international carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), making domestically manufactured aircraft competitive in the global marketplace. This proposal also sets a precedent with the Trump Administration being the first to propose regulating greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft.

“This standard is the first time the U.S. has ever proposed regulating greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Along with the Affordable Clean Energy and Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicle rule, this is the Trump Administration’s third major action to take sensible, legally defendable steps to regulate greenhouse gases, while safeguarding American jobs and the economy.”

The ICAO standards were developed with significant input from EPA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and U.S. and international aviation industries. Typically, three out of four aircraft manufactured in the U.S. are sold overseas. These standards will help ensure consistent standards across the world, and most importantly allow U.S. manufactured planes, such as commercial and large passenger jets, to continue to compete in the global marketplace.

The implementation process provides significant lead-time to designers and manufacturers of aircraft covered by the standards. The proposed GHG standards would apply to new type design airplanes on or after January 1, 2020 and to in-production airplanes on or after January 1, 2028. They would not apply to already manufactured airplanes that are currently in-use.

After EPA promulgates the final rule with the standards, FAA will complete a subsequent rulemaking to enforce these standards. At that point, FAA could begin to certify airplanes of U.S. manufacturers. This process will take some time, and it is critical that EPA complete this part of the process so that the U.S. standards are in place well in advance of 2028, when the ICAO standards go into effect for in-production airplanes.

Under the Clean Air Act, in 2016 EPA found that emissions of GHGs from engines used in certain aircraft causes, or contributes to, air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare. These findings triggered a requirement for EPA to promulgate standards addressing GHG emissions from the engines of affected aircraft.

FMI: www.epa.gov

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