WASHINGTON, July 31, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today commended the Senate Commerce Committee for approving a bill that would allow the Secretary of Transportation to prohibit U.S. aircraft operators from participating in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) because the scheme violates U.S. sovereignty and international law, and imposes a burdensome tax on U.S. airlines and consumers.
Introduced by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO), the bill (S. 1956) received bipartisan support from the committee and is similar to legislation passed by the full House of Representatives last fall that would direct U.S. airlines not to participate in the scheme.
"The bipartisan leadership of Senators Thune and McCaskill in co-sponsoring this important legislation and the committee's approval sends a strong message to the administration and the EU that Congress objects to this unilateral taxation scheme that will not benefit the environment, and A4A urges the full Senate to take immediate action," said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. "Diplomacy is not working, and we encourage the administration to file a legal challenge, forcing the EU to work toward a global sectoral approach through the International Civil Aviation Organization."
Separately this week, A4A along with a coalition of 18 other industry groups called on the United States to file an Article 84 action under the Chicago Convention in order to overturn the wrongful scheme and drive the EU to negotiate a resolution. ICAO has authority to address violations of the Chicago Convention and also is working to complete the global framework for aviation greenhouse gas emissions provisionally agreed at its 2010 Assembly.
A4A, its members and every impacted non-EU country oppose the application of this cap-and-trade tax scheme to airlines and aircraft operators, and are committed to seeing it overturned. As currently administered, U.S. carriers must account for emissions on the ground in the United States, across Canada and across the open seas, paying tax based on 100 percent of the emissions of flights to and from the EU, even though only a small portion of those emissions occur in EU airspace. The funds collected do not have to be used for environmental purposes and in fact can be used to stave off Europe's debt crisis.
A4A and its member airlines are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation and, with fuel-efficiency improvements eliminating 3.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide since 1978, have a strong record of meeting that commitment. By investing billions of dollars in fuel-saving aircraft and engines, innovative technologies and advanced avionics, the U.S. airline industry improved its fuel efficiency by 120 percent between 1978 and 2011, resulting in emissions savings equivalent to taking 22 million cars off the road each of those years.
Annually, commercial aviation helps drive more than $1 trillion in U.S. economic activity and nearly 10 million U.S. jobs. A4A airline members and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic. For more information about the airline industry, visit www.airlines.org and follow us on Twitter @airlinesdotorg.
SOURCE Airlines for America