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European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. BROWN of Florida. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 2594, a bill that would protect U.S. airlines, their employees and their passengers from the European Union's plan to unfairly charge U.S. airlines for emissions in U.S. air space.

President Obama has taken a strong stand against the EU emissions trading scheme scam on the grounds that it is inconsistent with international aviation law and practice. Additionally, airlines and labor groups oppose it because it would impose new and unjustifiable costs on the industry and destroy American jobs.

Climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution. Working through the International Civil Aviation Organization, the United States has committed to find a global solution to address aviation emissions based on agreement and cooperation.

However, the EU has decided to move forward with a go-it-alone approach that is contrary to international law and violates U.S. sovereignty by charging U.S. airlines for all emissions from flights between the United States and Europe, even the portion of flights over our own air space, and return the revenue to European countries without any specific assurances regarding how the revenue will be used. That is unacceptable.

This bill will protect U.S. airlines from unjust liability under the EU's emissions trading system. It sends a strong message from Congress that we do not support what the EU is doing, for a variety of reasons.

The United States is far from alone in expressing strong opposition to the EU's proposal. Last month, 25 other countries joined the United States in signing a joint declaration in India that calls upon the EU not to impose the emissions trading system on non-European airlines, and that urges EU member countries to instead address aviation emissions from ICAO, where progress already is being made.

The United States and other international partners stand ready and willing to work to address this issue constructively through the proper international framework.

We rightfully expect both governments and airlines to be good stewards of the environment and do everything possible to reduce harmful carbon emissions. In fact, the Federal Aviation Administration and the airline industry have invested billions of dollars in NextGen air traffic upgrades, and the FAA plans to reduce emissions by 2 percent a year through these improvements. Further, U.S. airlines improved fuel efficiency by approximately 110 percent since 1978. From 2000 to 2009, U.S. carriers reduced fuel burn and carbon emissions by 15 percent, while carrying 7 percent more passengers and cargo.

At meetings last week, I, along with Chairman Mica and several other members of the committee, met with European Union representatives to express our willingness to work with our friends to come to a more equitable solution to this problem, and I believe the meetings were very productive. But we also made it quite clear that the EU's my-way-or-the-highway approach was totally unacceptable, and we will take every action necessary to prevent the implementation of these unnecessary and dangerous taxes. And we made it clear that the Congress will stand up and defend the sovereignty of the United States.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.


Ms. BROWN of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

When I was growing up, I used to like this program with Sergeant Joe Friday, and he would say, ``The facts, ma'am; just the facts.''

I have a few facts about the European Union's emissions trade scheme--or scam--or whatever you want to call it. The U.S. airlines would be required to pay for carbon allowances for all segments of flights between the United States and Europe. For example, on a flight from Los Angeles to a European city, an airline would be liable for emissions over the U.S., Canada, and international waters. Two, fees for carbon allowance under the system would be paid directly to EU's member states without obligation to use them to mitigate aviation emissions impacts. The EU tax violates U.S. sovereignty by imposing liability on U.S. airlines for operations in the U.S. National Airspace System. Additionally, President Obama's administration testified before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure that the EU's tax is inconsistent with international aviation law.

In closing, I want to thank Chairman Mica, all of the Members that went with us to talk to our partners across the water in Canada, and Ranking Member Rahall for bringing this bill to the floor. I would encourage my colleagues to protect the U.S. airlines, U.S. customers, and U.S. jobs, and support this legislation.

I reserve the balance of my time.


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