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 BecerraTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Overnight Health Care: Biden says US will have enough vaccine for all adults by end of May | Biden calls on all states to vaccinate teachers by the end of March | Texas, Mississippi lift mask mandates Becerra tells Warren he will do 'thorough review' of executive actions on drug prices MORE, the attorney general of California, said in a statement. 


“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 BidenIntercept bureau chief: minimum wage was not 'high priority' for Biden in COVID-19 relief South Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Obama alum Seth Harris to serve as Biden labor adviser: report 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 WheelerEPA sued by environmental groups over Trump-era smog rule Environmental groups sue over federal permit for Virgin Islands refinery OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 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.