U.S. Representative Chip Cravaack (MN) offered an amendment to H.R. 5972, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Act of 2013, which would prohibit taxpayer dollars from being used to implement the illegal and job killing European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). H.R. 5972 was passed by the House today with bipartisan support.
Definition of a Scheme -- 1. A systematic plan of action: 2. A secret or devious plan; a plot
In January, the European Union (EU) unilaterally imposed its Trading Scheme on civil aviation operators landing in or departing from the EU. Now, starting in April 2013, U.S. aviation operators will be required to pay an emissions tax to the EU Member State to which they most frequently fly.
"Ultimately, the ETS puts U.S. air carriers at a competitive disadvantage, resulting in job losses. A better approach to address aviation's impact on global emissions is to work with the international civil aviation community through the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization to establish consensus-driven initiatives to reduce emissions," said Rep. Cravaack. "However, because the EU has made no effort to delay or retract their illegal Emissions Trading Scheme, this Amendment is necessary to ensure American taxpayer dollars will not be used to further the European's unilateral and questionable Scheme," he added.
The ETS, which applies to the entire flight, includes no mandate that the revenue must go toward research and development, which constitutes a clear violation of international law and U.S. sovereignty. For instance, for a flight leaving Los Angeles for London, taxes would be levied not just for the portion of the flight over the United Kingdom, but also for the portions of the flight over the United States and international waters.
"The European Union's unilaterally implemented emissions trading scheme could cost U.S. airlines billions of dollars, harm the U.S. economy, and risk the jobs of tens of thousands of U.S. workers," said Capt. Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l (ALPA). "Airline pilots commend Rep. Cravaack for his leadership in opposing this emissions scheme, and we welcome his action today to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars aren't used to carry-out this illegal tax on U.S. airlines," he added.
Despite serious legal issues and objections by the majority of the international community, including the United States, India, Russia, and China, the EU is pressing ahead with its plans.
"We appreciate Congressman Cravaack's leadership in working to protect U.S. airline passengers from an illegal tax imposed by the EU that will do nothing to help the environment, but will harm the competitiveness of the U.S. airline industry," said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. "As the Congressman correctly notes, we support a global sectoral approach that will build on the U.S. airlines' strong environmental record, and we thank him and the other bipartisan supporters of the amendment," he added.
Representative Cravaack serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee -- where he is Vice Chair of the Aviation Subcommittee -- the Homeland Security Committee, and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. The 8th Congressional District covers 18 counties in Northeast Minnesota.