House GOP: Senate airline emissions ban passage a 'positive sign'

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Lawmakers in both chambers have left town for the run-up to Election Day, though both the House and Senate will hold pro forma sessions in lieu of formally recessing. Still, the emissions issue will likely not be addressed until lame-duck session at the earliest.

Earlier Monday, the Republican sponsor of the Senate's version of the anti-emissions trading bill called on the lower chamber to accept its language on the legislation.

“I hope the House will quickly take action on my bipartisan legislation so the president can sign this bill to prevent the EU’s unlawful attack on American sovereignty,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said after passage of the bill, which was co-sponsored by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).
 
The Senate’s version of the emissions ban contains a provision that enables the United States to reassess the exemption for American airlines if the European system is altered or if there’s an international agreement on airline emissions or U.S. rulemaking to address the pollution.

Airlines have called for allowing its own industry to address emission requirements, calling for a resolution from the organization that regulates international air travel, the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The House version of the emissions ban makes no mention of ending the exemption from U.S. airlines.

Airlines have said that without a legislative ban, they will  have to begin making payments for emissions on flights to countries within the EU in April 2013.

Under the rules, airlines will have to reduce their emissions from 2006 levels by 3 percent by 2013 and 5 percent by 2020.

The enforcement mechanisms and fines for noncompliance are similar to cap-and-trade proposals environmentalists once tried to push in the United States.