Senate Wants U.S. Operators Exempted From EU Rules

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If the European Union wants to regulate aviation emissions, operators of U.S. aircraft should not have to comply, the U.S. Senate said last week. The Senate passed a bill that prohibits U.S. operators from participating in the E.U. Emissions Trading Scheme. "We appreciate the forceful message this bill sends to the E.U. against the imposition of a new carbon tax on aircraft," said NBAA President Ed Bolen. The U.S. House has also passed a similar bill. The two bills must now be reconciled and then voted on a final time by both chambers. Bolen testified before a Senate committee about the plan, calling it "fatally flawed," and added that "as badly as the airlines are treated, general aviation is treated even worse" under the E.U. scheme.

Bolen said international standards governing civil aviation should be enacted by the International Civil Aviation Organization. "The general aviation community continues to support the framework for addressing greenhouse gas emissions developed by the ICAO," Bolen said. "The business aviation community has a continuous record of improvement on emissions reduction. We will continue our decades-long effort to promote policies that minimize the industry's carbon footprint." The U.S. is not the only country perturbed by the emissions scheme -- 27 other countries have expressed opposition, and some have suggested that maybe they won't buy airplanes from European manufacturers in protest. Annie Petsonk, a lawyer for the Environmental Defense Fund, told The Guardian the bill would have an impact. "Passage of the [Senate] bill amps up the pressure on ICAO to move swiftly to reach a global agreement on addressing aviation's global warming pollution," she said.