12 states, green groups sue EPA over airline standards they deem insufficient

12 states, green groups sue EPA over airline standards they deem insufficient
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is facing two legal challenges from environmental groups and a coalition of 12 states and Washington, D.C., over its new emissions standards for airlines.

The attorneys general and the groups argue that the first-ever U.S. standards, which are not expected to actually reduce emissions, are insufficient.

“The aviation industry is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, yet the EPA has set standards here that are the equivalent of doing nothing,” Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Health Care — Presented by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing — FDA panel endorses booster shots of Johnson & Johnson vaccine Biden administration to invest 0 million to boost health care, attract workers FDA guidance calls for voluntary salt reduction in food supply MORE, the attorney general of California, said in a statement. 

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“No sector, certainly not one that is a major contributor of [greenhouse gasses], should be gifted a free pass from taking meaningful action to limit emissions,” added the attorney general. President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenJan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Democrats address reports that clean energy program will be axed Two House Democrats to retire ahead of challenging midterms MORE has chosen Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.  

The EPA declined to comment, saying it does not comment on pending litigation. 

Last month, EPA Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Emissions heading toward pre-pandemic levels Former EPA chief to chair pro-Trump think tank's environmental center Lobbying world MORE touted the standards as part of the “Trump Administration’s pragmatic approach to climate action that has produced meaningful results without unnecessarily sacrificing American jobs or important domestic industries like our aircraft manufacturers.”

However, the agency admitted that the standards are not expected to have an impact on emissions, as the rule itself says “EPA is not projecting emission reductions associated with today’s proposed GHG regulations.”

The rule adopts existing emission standards from the International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations's aviation authority. 

The Air Transport Action Group, an aviation industry organization, says that globally, the industry is responsible for about 2 percent of carbon emissions. As of 2018, the transportation sector at large accounted for 28 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.