US Congress, industry urges Obama administration action on ETS

Washington DC
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The United States Congress, aerospace and airline industry trade associations are urging the Obama administration to file a formal International Civil Aviation Organization Article 84 complaint protesting the 2012 implementation of the European Union's Emissions Trading System (ETS).

However, officials from both the US Federal Aviation Administration and Department of State representing the Obama administration urged a cautious approach to dealing with ETS, which it opposes.

Underscoring its desire to reduce carbon emissions through new technology and overhaul of the US airspace system, FAA assistant administrator for policy, international affairs and environment Julie Oettinger says "ETS is the wrong way to achieve that objective."

"We are urging the EU to work constructively with its international partners to find a solution [through] ICAO," says Oettinger.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood sent letters to the EU in December 2011 urging a suspension of the directive of non-EU airlines and "find a way forward to find a way forward with ICAO", says Oettinger.

"We are considering our next steps carefully in light of all these developments," citing declarations of opposition from ICAO member states in during recent Delhi and Moscow summits.

"We are focused on finding a global solution," says Oettinger.

State Department deputy assistant secretary for transportation affairs Krishna Urs says no option, including an Article 84 complaint under the Chicago convention, has been ruled out as a means for resolving the ETS dispute.

As it urges Congressional and Administration activity accelerate, Airlines for America (A4A) has dropped its own private suit against the EU, calling the trading scheme "an exorbitant money grab."

The US Airline Pilots Association and National Business Aviation Association, echo A4A's opposition to the implementation of ETS, while US House members are urging the Senate to ratify a bill that passed the House in October prohibiting US airlines from complying with ETS.