Committee Pressures EPA On Aircraft Emissions

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The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming is turning up the heat on the Environmental Protection Agency over the contribution of aircraft emissions to global warming. Committee Chairman Edward Markey, D-Mass., has written a letter wondering whether "the agency has plans to regulate heat-trapping global warming emissions from America’s aviation sector, continuing the committee’s ongoing investigation into aviation’s increasing contribution to global warming and what can be done to reduce those emissions." Last month five states, the city of New York and environmental groups petitioned the EPA to tackle the issue but there have been no smoke signals from EPA on the topic since.

Markey says the European Union has agreed to include aircraft emissions in its CO2 reduction plans but the U.S. has threatened to sue the EU if it tries to enforce emissions limits on aviation. Among the questions Markey has for the EPA is whether the agency played any role in the Bush administration's adoption of that seemingly aggressive posture. Markey also notes that the FAA has sidestepped the issue by saying it's waiting for the EPA's wisdom on the issue.