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European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Unknown


Mr. PETRI. I thank my chairman.

I rise in support of the bill before us, Senate bill 1956, the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011.

In January 2012, the European Union began to unilaterally apply its Emissions Trading Scheme to all civil aviation operators landing in or departing from one of the EU Member States.

Just yesterday, the EU announced it was going to postpone the application of the Emissions Trading Scheme on international operators until 2014. Prior to that announcement, EU Member States would have required international air carriers and operators to pay for emission allowances and, in some cases, penalties for carbon emissions starting in April of next year.

While this postponement is a good first step, it is not a total withdrawal of this illegal scheme, and therefore, we must press ahead with this bipartisan legislation to ensure U.S. operators and consumers are protected.

The EU Emissions Trading Scheme is legally questionable in a number of ways. First, it applies to the entire length of the flight, including those parts of the flight outside the EU's airspace. For instance, if a flight leaves Los Angeles to 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, Canada, and international waters.

The European Union's unilateral application of their emissions scheme to U.S. aviation operators without the consent of the United States Government raises significant legal concerns under international law, including violations of the Chicago Convention and the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement.

There are also concerns that the Emissions Trading Scheme is nothing more than a revenue raiser for the EU Member States, as there is no requirement that EU Member States must use the funds for anything related to the reduction of emissions by the civil aviation sector.

The EU Emissions Trading Scheme will take money from the airline industry that would otherwise be invested in NextGen technologies and the purchase of new aircraft, two proven methods for improving environmental performance and reducing emissions.

Airlines for America, an air transport trade association, testified before our Aviation Subcommittee last year that the extraction of capital from the aviation system, as envisioned under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, could threaten over 78,000 American jobs. This is unacceptable.

But despite serious legal issues and objections by the international community, the European Union is pressing ahead with its plans. In September 2011, 21 countries, including the United States, signed a joint declaration against the EU Emissions Trading Scheme in New Delhi, India.

In the last year, there have been several other multinational meetings of countries who oppose the scheme, including meetings that took place in Russia and in the United States.

The bill before us directs the Secretary of Transportation to prohibit U.S. aircraft operators from participating in this illegal scheme. The bill also directs appropriate U.S. government officials to negotiate a worldwide approach to address aircraft emissions, and to take appropriate actions to hold U.S. civil operators harmless from the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme.

The EU needs to slow down and carefully weigh its decision to include international civil aviation in its emissions trading scheme. A better approach would be to work with the international civil aviation community through the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization to establish consensus-driven initiatives to reduce aviation emissions.

I am pleased to see movement on the part of the EU to work with the international community at ICAO to seek a global approach to civil aviation emissions. While the postponement for a year is a positive sign, it is not enough to ensure U.S. operators will not be negatively impacted by the trading scheme at some point in the future. Therefore, we are moving forward with this bipartisan bill to ensure U.S. operators will not ever be subjected to the illegal European scheme.

I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan, bicameral legislation.


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