EU Emissions Plan Gets Roughed Up in Congress

 - May 8, 2008, 12:24 PM

John Bruton, the European Union’s Ambassador to the U.S., received a decidedly undiplomatic reception while testifying on aviation emissions before the House aviation subcommittee on Tuesday. The ambassador got into a rancorous spat with Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), who was designated acting chairman of the subcommittee at the time. What drew the congressman’s ire was an EU proposal that an airline flying from Los Angeles to London would pay carbon allowances to the EU for the entire 6,000 miles and not just the portion flown in EU airspace. Asked why the U.S. should have to pay a premium for flying over its own airspace, Bruton responded that the pollution eventually flows over to Europe. When asked where the money would go, the ambassador said it would improve the EU ATC system. “You want to tax our airlines in order to make your air traffic system more efficient?” asked DeFazio. “You are looking for a trade war.” The dust-up ended when the congressman left the room to cast a vote on the House floor.