U.S. House bill to thwart European anti-pollution law for aviation could turn U.S. airlines into international scofflaws, ignite trade war

October 24, 2011

Jennifer Andreassen, 202-572-3387, jandreassen@edf.org

(Washington – October 24, 2011)  The U.S. House of Representatives tonight passed the “European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011,” a bill introduced by Rep. John Mica (R-FL) and others, which would worsen air pollution and force U.S. airlines to stop flying to Europe, or risk violating other nations’ laws at their and other U.S. companies’ expense. 
The following is a statement by Environmental Defense Fund’s International Counsel, Annie Petsonk
“The EU law is a modest, non-discriminatory first step to tackling pollution from airlines. The airlines have done back flips to dodge pollution control in the International Civil Aviation Organization, where countries have spent nearly 15 years failing to agree on a program to cut carbon pollution. ‪
The EU law was duly enacted several years ago, and a preliminary ruling from Europe’s highest court a few weeks ago advised that the airlines’ challenge had no merit.
‪The House passing this bill is like another nation saying, ‘We don’t care if the U.S. has a law enacted by Congress and upheld by the U.S. courts — we’re going to prohibit our companies from complying.’  It’s unlikely that our Congress would let that kind of action go without retaliation. ‪
This bill could ignite a trade war that would put tens of thousands of U.S. jobs in jeopardy.  By barring U.S.-based airlines from complying with applicable law for flights traveling to EU airports, this bill would compel those airlines either to drop their EU routes or become scofflaws.  ‪It’s bizarre Congress would knowingly pass a law that compels U.S.-based airlines to become outlaws when they do business in the EU.”‪
For more information, see edf.org/aviation.