Congress has begun the task of drafting legislation that would prohibit operators of U.S.-registered aircraft from participating in a European program to regulate aviation greenhouse emissions by imposing a so-called “carbon tax.”
The Senate this week approved Senate Bill S.1956, the “European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act,” which directs the Department of Transportation to prevent U.S. aircraft operators from taking part in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS). The House passed similar legislation earlier this year, and the two bills will now be reconciled into a single measure for a final vote.
Congressional observers expect the reconciled bill to clear both chambers of Congress, but it is unclear at this point whether President Obama would sign the legislation if it reaches his desk.
Last week, 19 aviation organizations, including the National Business Aviation Association, sent the president a letter urging him to pass the bill.
“Standing up against the application of this unilateral scheme on U.S. airlines and general aviation aircraft operators is necessary to protect U.S. sovereignty and jobs,” the groups said in the letter.
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen testified before the Senate over the summer, calling the scheme “fatally flawed,” and adding that, “as badly as the airlines are treated, general aviation is treated even worse” under the EU-ETS.
“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 [and] we will continue our decades-long effort to promote policies that minimize the industry’s carbon footprint.”