Senate Panel Takes Up EU-ETS Issue

 - June 7, 2012, 5:40 PM

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told a Senate panel yesterday that the Obama Administration has “not taken a position” on anti-ETS legislation working its way through Congress, but is actively studying the possibility of filing an Article 84 complaint with the International Civil Aviation Organization. Describing the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) as “precedent setting,” the former Republican congressman declared, “This is not the way to treat your friends.”

In October, the House passed a bill that would prohibit all flights originating in the U.S. from participating in the EU scheme, and yesterday’s hearing addressed similar legislation before the Senate.

In his testimony, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen called the plan “fatally flawed” and said “as badly as commercial airlines are treated, noncommercial aviation is treated even worse.” He said an airline can fly from Chile to Europe twice a day using a four-engine Airbus A340 without being subjected to the EU-ETS because commercial carriers that operate only two flights per day to or from Europe have been deemed “small emitters,” and thus are exempted from the scheme.

“Yet a U.S.-based farm equipment company that flies to Europe once a year on a U.S.-built general aviation airplane will be subjected to the EU-ETS,” Bolen said. “Why? Because it is a ‘noncommercial’ flight and the ‘small emitter’ exemption is not available to ‘noncommercial’ operators.”