President Obama closed the legislative loop on U.S. refusal to comply with the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) on Tuesday, when he signed S.1956, a bipartisan measure that orders the Secretary of Transportation to prohibit U.S. aircraft operators from participating in the carbon tax plan.
“With final passage of this act, the President and Congress stand as one in declaring that the EU-ETS is an overreach, it’s wrong and it won’t fly with operators based here in the U.S.,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “This is an issue that should rightfully be decided within the framework of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). With passage of this measure, the U.S. government has said with clarity and conviction that it will stand in favor of international law and against the unilateral imposition of one region’s will upon the rest of the world.”
Earlier this month, the EU announced that it would suspend enforcement of ETS for international flights. But Airlines for America (A4A), which represents U.S. airlines, warned that the suspension is only temporary, and action from the U.S. government is still needed. A4A president and CEO Nicholas Calio indicated that, to the extent the EU ultimately withdraws its unilateral scheme on international aviation, there is hope that a legal challenge under Article 84 of the Chicago Convention would not be necessary.