Europeans are concerned with pending legislation in Congress that would exempt US carriers from the EU ETS law. The House of Representatives has passed a version and another has been proposed in the Senate, but the fate of a compromise bill is uncertain with election-year politics in play and Congress preoccupied with spending and economic priorities. If the airline lobby applies enough pressure, election or no election, the legislation could still be passed this year.
Here is the Congress bill in its full form:_________________________________________________________________________________112th CONGRESS
H. R. 2594
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
October 31, 2011
December 17, 2011
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
To prohibit operators of civil aircraft of the United States from participating in the European Union’s emissions trading scheme, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011’.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:
(1) The European Union has unilaterally imposed an emissions trading scheme (in this section referred to as the ‘ETS’) on non-European Union aircraft flying to and from, as well as within, Europe.
(2) United States airlines and other United States aircraft operators will be required under the ETS to pay for European Union emissions allowances for aircraft operations within the United States, over other non-European Union countries, and in international airspace for flights serving the European Union.
(3) The European Union’s extraterritorial action is inconsistent with long-established international law and practice, including the Chicago Convention of 1944 and the Air Transport Agreement between the United States and the European Union and its member states, and directly infringes on the sovereignty of the United States.
(4) The European Union’s action undermines ongoing efforts at the International Civil Aviation Organization to develop a unified, worldwide approach to reducing aircraft greenhouse gas emissions and has generated unnecessary friction within the international civil aviation community as it endeavors to reduce such emissions.
(5) The European Union and its member states should instead work with other contracting states of the International Civil Aviation Organization to develop such an approach.
(6) There is no assurance that ETS revenues will be used for aviation environmental purposes by the European Union member states that will collect them.
(7) The United States Government expressed these and other serious objections relating to the ETS to representatives of the European Union and its member states during June 2011, but has not received satisfactory answers to those objections.
SEC. 3. PROHIBITION ON PARTICIPATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNION’S EMISSIONS TRADING SCHEME.
The Secretary of Transportation shall prohibit an operator of a civil aircraft of the United States from participating in any emissions trading scheme unilaterally established by the European Union.
SEC. 4. NEGOTIATIONS.
The Secretary of Transportation, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, and other appropriate officials of the United States Government shall use their authority to conduct international negotiations and take other actions necessary to ensure that operators of civil aircraft of the United States are held harmless from any emissions trading scheme unilaterally established by the European Union.
SEC. 5. CIVIL AIRCRAFT OF THE UNITED STATES DEFINED.
In this Act, the term ‘civil aircraft of the United States’ has the meaning given that term under section 40102(a) of title 49, United States Code.
Passed the House of Representatives October 24, 2011.
KAREN L. HAAS,
Following the adoption of the above bill in the US House of Representatives, Senator John Thune (In the majority Democrat Senate, Thune is a Republican ranking member of the Commerce Committee’s Aviation Operations, Safety and Security Subcommittee.) has introduced a mirror bill. The bill instructs the US Secretary of Transportation to prohibit US civil aircraft operators from participating in what it describes as the EU’s unilaterally established scheme.
“The idea that the European Union has the right to tax American air passengers and carriers flies in the face of our country’s sovereignty,” commented Thune. “I reject this proposed European tax and will work with my colleagues in Congress and countless concerned stakeholders to block this tax.”
The move was welcomed by trade body Airlines for America, formerly the Air Transport Association, who estimate the EU ETS will cost US airlines and passengers more than $3.1 billion between 2012 and 2020. The EU ETS issue is to be discussed at a regular meeting coincidentally being held today of EU and US representatives under the US-EU bilateral Open Skies air transport agreement. Meanwhile, the EU’s Connie Hedegaard yesterday said the legislation would not be changed.
A number of US environmental groups sided with the EU in the case, including the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Commenting on the proposed Senate bill, Pamela Campos, an attorney with EDF, said: “We are disappointed to see this news. This is a bad move for the environment, the American economy, and American airlines. Our Congressional leaders should not be turning American companies into scofflaws.
Source: US Congress & Flyvertosset
Gravity always wins!