Thune presses House to accept Senate deal on airline emissions

{mosads}“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,” he said after passage of the bill, which has bipartisan sponsorship.

The EU requirements are deeply unpopular with American officials and airlines, who oppose application of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions credits trading system on flights to and from the continent.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told a Senate panel in June that the EU system’s application to aviation is “lousy” policy.

However, lawmakers face a short window to reach a final deal, and the Senate compromise differs somewhat from the version that cleared the House last October. 

The Senate’s plan contains a provision that enables the U.S. to reassess the exemption if the European system is altered; or if there’s an international agreement on airline emissions or U.S. rulemaking to address the pollution.

The bill calls on U.S. officials to pursue a worldwide approach to address aircraft emissions.

But EU climate chief Connie Hedegaard, in a statement to news outlets on Saturday, appeared to question the level of U.S. commitment to crafting a global pact.

“It’s not enough to say you want it, you have to work hard to get it done,” she said, according to Reuters. “That means that the U.S. needs to change its approach in the [United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization] and show willingness to actually seal a meaningful global deal that will facilitate action.”

Airlines for America, which is the main trade group for the U.S. industry, cheered the legislation on Saturday, lauding Thune and co-sponsor Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) in a statement alleging that U.S. airlines “should not be subjected to this illegal scheme that amounts to little more than a cash grab for the European Union.”

“We commend Senators John Thune and Claire McCaskill for their leadership in passage of this crucial legislation that recognizes this scheme is a breach of U.S. sovereignty that actually limits our ability to build on our strong environmental record by investing in new and more fuel-efficient aircraft,” said Nicholas E. Calio, the group’s president.

Tags Claire McCaskill John Thune

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