Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, formerly known as the Air Transport Association, today commended Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) for introducing a bill that would prohibit U.S. aircraft operators from participating in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) because the scheme violates international law and U.S. sovereignty. The legislation would also seek to hold operators harmless from the scheme.
The Senate bill is similar to the bipartisan legislation passed by the full House of Representatives on Oct. 25, 2011.
“We commend Senator Thune for his leadership in joining the Administration and his colleagues in the House of Representatives in opposing the application of the EU ETS to U.S. airlines, as it is both illegal and bad policy. Subjecting airlines to the EU’s unilateral system will be counterproductive to helping the environment, result in the loss of U.S. jobs, and hamper airlines’ ability to invest in new aircraft and continue their extensive efforts to reduce their environmental impact,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio.
The Senate bill comes less than a week after President Obama told EU officials that that he opposes the EU scheme. The congressional action also follows the ICAO Council adoption last month of a declaration opposing the unilateral application of the EU ETS on international aviation and urging continued collaborative action on the global sectoral approach. “There is no question that this country and the rest of the world are united against the EU’s unilateral and counterproductive scheme,” Calio said.
A4A is part of an industrywide aviation coalition that has committed to continuing the industry’s strong record of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings and has proposed the adoption of a global sectoral approach by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations body charged with setting standards for international aviation. In October 2010, ICAO adopted a resolution with targets and principles broadly consistent with the industry’s approach, demonstrating that the industry and governments are coalescing around a common platform for addressing aviation GHG emissions at the global level.
A4A, which brought a legal action against the EU’s unilateral action in 2009 on behalf of all of its members, promotes adoption of the global sectoral approach. The European Court of Justice is expected to issue a decision on the case before the end of the year, although many countries have vowed to continue to oppose the EU’s unilateral scheme regardless of the outcome in the private cause of action.
A coalition of 15 industry groups issued a letter to senators urging support of the legislation.
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