GOP Rep. Mica to Senate: Pass airline emissions trading ban before 'recess'

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"I commend the Senate Commerce Committee for approving a bill prohibiting U.S. participation in this appropriately named and unlawful EU 'scheme' to tax American air carriers in American airspace, threaten U.S. aviation jobs, and drive up airline ticket prices," Mica said in a statement released by his office. "The Senate should expedite approval of this bill as soon as possible, and the House and Senate can move forward to complete a final bill to send to the president."

The House voted on Thursday against recessing until September. Both the lower and upper chambers are scheduled to convene a brief pro forma session on Friday, and both are expected to meet throughout the traditional August break period.

The House passed a bill to prohibit the European Union from applying its proposed emissions trading system to U.S. airlines in October 2011.

Under the system, airlines from any country are required to trade credits for pollution emitted by flights to European destinations.

The requirement is similar to cap-and-trade proposals environmentalists once tried to push in the United States. It calls for airlines to reduce their emissions from 2006 levels by 3 percent by 2013 and 5 percent by 2020.

The U.S. airline industry has said the emissions trading requirement is unfair to non-European airlines because it counts the entire length of the flight, not just the time an airplane spends over European countries.

Mica said Friday the emissions trading requirement is an "illegal" system the United States should take a strong stand against.

"We must be clear that Congress and the United States government will not support this ill-advised and illegal EU tax, which is nothing more than an attack on our nation's sovereignty," he said.

Lawmakers in both chambers have called on the International Civil Aviation Organization to prevent the EU emissions requirements from taking effect.

The ICAO was set up by a treaty in 1947 to regulate international aviation activity.