White House approves EPA’s airplane emissions plan

 

The White House has approved a plan that would allow the Obama administration to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from airplanes.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review is the last step before the Environmental Protection Agency releases the finding publicly.

EPA will solicit public comments on the finding after its release, and then proceed to write a regulation.

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OMB on Wednesday announced it had approved the EPA "endangerment finding" that analyzed the extent to which carbon from planes is harmful.

The administration has not revealed exactly what is in the analysis, but the EPA is expected to conclude that carbon from airplanes is harmful because it contributes to climate change — a similar finding to what it has said about carbon from cars, trucks and power plants.

The agency is likely to align its policies with regulations from the International Civil Aviation Organization, an agency of the United Nations. Those rules are due to be announced in February 2016.

But environmentalists have already objected to that strategy, fearing that the international rules will not be strong enough to make a significant dent in the aviation sector’s greenhouse gases. Greens say the EPA has the power and responsibility to go further than the international standards.

The commercial airlines want the EPA to align with international rules, fearing that anything else would put them at a disadvantage with competitors abroad.