Aircraft Emissions Suit Launched


Environmental groups have filed suit (PDF) against the EPA to try and force the agency to set emissions limits for all aircraft. The suit was filed by Earthjustice (on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity) and Friends of the Earth on Thursday, saying the EPA has “delayed unreasonably” coming up with rules for aircraft pollution. “The EPA has dawdled for almost a decade, even as airplane emissions are on track to spiral out of control,” said Vera Pardee, a senior attorney with the Center’s Climate Law Institute, in a statement. However, the suit might be somewhat redundant since the issue is already being addressed at the global level.

In February, the International Civil Aviation organization proposed carbon limits for commercial aircraft that would take effect on new aircraft produced after 2020 and on existing models still in production after 2023. Any aircraft that don’t meet the emissions caps would end production by 2028. Details of the standards still haven’t been released but since the U.S. is a charter member of ICAO it’s expected to adopt the new rules. The EPA says it’s also working on the issue and expects to issue an “endangerment finding” on the effects of aircraft emissions later this year. Such a declaration is a fundamental step in the process to establish limits on the emissions.