Sen. Thune 'pleased' with EU emission fees halt, but fears plan may be revived

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Airlines have campaigned vehemently against the emission rules, arguing that they would have been unfairly applied to the entire lengths of flights to and from European countries, not just time spent in European airspace. 

Under the rules, airlines would have been required to reduce their emissions from 2006 levels by 3 percent before 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.

Thune sponsored a bill with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) to block the EU from applying the emission trading requirement to U.S. airlines. 

To win support from those opposed to blocking the requirement, like Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Thune and McCaskill added a provision to their bill instructing the ICAO to address airline emissions separately. 

The Senate's version of the bill was never married with the version of the legislation that was approved by the House last year. The lower chamber's version of the measure did not include appeals for a replaced emission system.