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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

House Passes Bill to Exempt U.S. Airlines From EU Emissions Trading Scheme

Woodrow Bellamy III

Lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bill to exempt U.S. airlines from complying with a European Union (EU) law that forces them to pay for their carbon emissions on flights to and from Europe.

The House passage of S.1956 came a day after the EU suspended its policy of charging airlines for their carbon emissions to allow for a global solution to reduce aircraft pollution.

“Aviation is a global industry and Congress will not stand by and allow the EU to take unilateral action for this scheme. While EU leaders have temporarily backed off implementing their emissions tax proposal, this legislation ensures U.S. operators will not at any point participate in the proposed plan should it resurface,” said Rep. Bill Shuster (R–Pa.).

EU Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the EU’s ETS would be reapplied to foreign carriers if the ICAO does not provide a global solution prior to September 2013, but U.S. airlines will now be exempt from paying the tax if that occurs.

Airlines for America (A4A) President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio called the ETS a violation of “U.S. sovereignty” and strongly supported the House action on the bill.

“There is a better way to improve the environmental efficiency of the airline industry, and U.S.-based carriers are already leading those efforts,” said Calio.  

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