Committee Leaders Urge DOT Secretary to Protect U.S. Aviation from EU Emissions Trading Scheme

Washington, DC - Bipartisan leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Aviation Subcommittee today wrote to Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx urging him to protect U.S. aircraft operators from unfairly being subjected to a European Union aviation emissions cap and trade system while a global plan to reduce emissions is being developed.

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall, II (D-WV), Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-WA) stated in the letter that if the EU proceeds with a proposed amendment to its Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), in contravention of a recent International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreement on global aviation emissions, Secretary Foxx should negotiate with his European Union counterparts and reach agreement that ensures that U.S. aircraft operators are held harmless from the unilateral application of the EU’s system.  Further, if the EU adopts the proposed amendment despite earnest negotiations, the Secretary should exercise his authority to prohibit U.S. civil aircraft from participating in the ETS.

The bipartisan letter states, “As part of the global approach to aviation emissions adopted in October, the ICAO rejected a European proposal that would have allowed countries and groups of countries to unilaterally apply their own market schemes to all aircraft operating in international flight in their airspace until the global approach is in place….  The ETS amendment currently being considered in the EU flouts the agreed upon framework developed by the ICAO.”

The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011(P.L. 112-200) directs the Secretary to prohibit an operator of a civil aircraft of the United States from participating in the ETS when the Secretary determines the prohibition to be in the public interest.  In making this determination, the Secretary is to take into account the impacts on U.S. consumers, air carriers and operators; the impacts on economic, energy, and environmental security of the United States; and the impact on U.S. foreign relations, including existing international commitments. 

The law also directs the Secretary, the FAA Administrator, and other federal officials to conduct international negotiations and take other actions necessary to ensure that U.S. operators are held harmless from the EU ETS. 

Click here to read the entire letter.

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