Dems ask EPA to go beyond UN on aircraft emissions

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A group of House Democrats is pushing the Obama administration to crack down more strongly on airplane emissions than it is planning to do.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working with the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to establish worldwide standards for greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft.

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But a group of Democrats led by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) says the EPA’s goal should instead be to bring airplanes’ emissions to 2005 levels by 2020 and reduce the country’s emissions 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025, as President Obama has promised.

“Delivering on these commitments will require the United States to go far beyond the options currently being considered by the International Civil Aviation Organization,” they wrote to the EPA Wednesday.

The lawmakers said consistent, worldwide standards would be a nice goal.

“But given that ICAO has already decided to adopt a ‘technology following’ standard and has ruled out the possibility of regulating in-use aircraft, it is clear that the United States cannot achieve the emission reductions we need by simply rubber-stamping the ICAO standards,” they wrote. “EPA can and must do more.”

The EPA proposed in June to declare that greenhouse gases from planes harm public health and welfare, the first step toward regulating such emissions.

EPA officials announced at that time that any future regulations would likely align with what ICAO is doing, in an attempt to keep rules consistent across the world.