U.S. House Rejects EU Emissions Trading Scheme On U.S. Aircraft


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U.S. House Rejects EU Emissions Trading Scheme On U.S. Aircraft

By Daniel Baxter

October 25, 2011 - The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2594, which prohibit operators of civil aircraft of the United States from participating in the European Unionís emissions trading scheme. This costly EU scheme would impose new taxes, emissions cap and trade requirements on U.S. air carriers flying into and out of the EU airspace. 

The legislation, entitled "The European Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011" (H.R. 2594), was passed overwhelmingly by the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday. 

The bill prohibits all U.S. airlines and general aviation flight operators from participating in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) if it is unilaterally imposed on them. It also orders FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt to do all within his ability to ensure flight operators are not penalized by the program.

National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen said, "we applaud the House of Representatives for passing this important measure, which sends a strong, unified signal to EU regulators that their planned Emissions Trading Scheme is unacceptable. Global aviation standards are overseen by the International Civil Aviation Organization, and any new standards should be decided by ICAO." 

Bolen's concerns were echoed in a letter NBAA and a number of other aviation organizations recently sent to House lawmakers strongly opposing the EU-ETS. The letter notes: "In September 2010, the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) Triennial Assembly agreed to an action plan to address aviation emissions, including efficiency targets and principles to govern future activities. In doing so, ICAO recognized that unilateral emissions schemes like the EU ETS undermine the need for a global solution for a global industry." 

The EU-ETS program is slated to go into effect January 1, 2012. It charges a carbon tax on all aircraft operations overflying or landing in a European Union Country. Under the plan, the amount of tax to be paid by flight operators would depend on the type of aircraft and the total distance flown. 

The legislation passed by the House yesterday was introduced earlier this year by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-7-FL), Full Committee Ranking Democrat Nick J. Rahall (D-3-WV), Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Tom Petri (R-6-WI), Aviation Subcommittee Ranking Democrat Jerry Costello (D-IL), Aviation Subcommittee Vice-Chair Chip Cravaack (R-8-MN), and other Members of the House. The bill passed the House by voice vote.

On Tuesday the European Union stated regardless of the U.S House of Representatives vote against an emissions cap-and-trade program on airlines flying to and from Europe they will enforce their new emissions law which will go into effect January 1, 2012. The EU emission program will include all airlines flying to and from its 27 member countries. "We do not intend to modify our adopted legislation (but) the commission is of course open to discuss other partners' concerns on how we will implement our legislation," said Isaac Valero-Ladron, spokesman for the EU's climate agency. 

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