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Transpo groups to Clinton, LaHood: Protest European Union airline emission trading rules

A coalition of transportation groups is calling on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to ask a group that regulates international aviation to overturn the European Union’s proposed requirement that airlines operating in its countries trade emissions.

The secretary of state and the transportation secretary should file a motion on behalf of the Obama administration with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to oppose the rule, the groups said Monday.

“We urge the administration to file an action under Article 84 of the Chicago Convention and to take all other action necessary to overturn this wrongful scheme,” the groups wrote in a letter to the secretaries.

“There is strong, bipartisan support for ensuring that U.S. passengers, airlines and aircraft operators are not subject to this unlawful scheme, as evidenced by the passage of H.R. 2594 in the House of Representatives and the mark up of S. 1956, the ‘European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act,’ scheduled for July 31 in the Senate,” the groups continued. “We appreciate Congress’ action and support and trust that it will give the Administration further impetus for action.”

The Senate’s version of the bill to block the European Union from imposing its emission trading requirements on U.S. airlines is scheduled to be considered Tuesday by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

During a previous meeting of the committee earlier this summer, LaHood called the EU’s proposal “lousy.”

Be inclusive. Don’t just pass a law and assume we’re all just going to go along with it,” LaHood said in June that he would advise the European nations.

The letter Monday urged LaHood and Clinton to file a formal article 84 complaint with the IACO against the emission trading requirement. The provision of the 1944 treaty that created the IACO, which is a subsidiary of the United Nations, allows the agency to resolve disputes between members of the international aviation agency.

Under the proposed EU emission trading system, which is similar to cap-and-trade proposals environmentalists once tried to push in the United States, airlines from any country would have to trade credits for pollution emitted by flights to European destinations.

The plan calls for airlines to reduce their emissions from 2006 levels by 3 percent by 2013 and 5 percent by 2020.

Emissions would be counted for the entire length of the flight, not just the time an airplane spends over European countries, which the U.S. airline industry has said is unfair to non-European airlines.

The letter to LaHood and Clinton was signed by the Aerospace Industries Association; Air Line Pilots Association; Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; Airlines for America; Airports Council International-North America; American Society of Travel Agents; Cargo Airline Association; Consumer Travel Alliance; Independent Pilots Association; Interactive Travel Services Association; General Aviation Manufacturers Association; Global Business Travel Association; National Air Carrier Association; National Air Transportation Association; National Business Aviation Association; Regional Airline Association; International Brotherhood of Teamsters – Airline Division; U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Travel Association.
source: The Hill Transportation, July 30, 2012