A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers -- the rarest of birds on Capitol Hill these days -- has decided to challenge the European Union's plans to include aviation in its Emissions Trading System (ETS) come Jan. 1.
Late this morning, the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee announced plans for a Wednesday morning press conference to discuss the introduction of bipartisan legislation regarding airline inclusion in the ETS. According to the announcement, House Transportation Committee members will detail provisions of the bill that challenge the EU's plan "to impose a costly fee or emissions credit purchase on any civil aviation operators arriving or departing EU airports."
Among the notables expected to attend are U.S. Reps. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the T&I Committee, Tom Petri (R-Wis.), aviation subcommittee chairman, Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), committee ranking member, and Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) aviation subcommittee ranking Democrat.
Congressional opposition to U.S. airline inclusion in the EU ETS isn't really a surprise. The House version of the FAA Reauthorization Bill includes a Sense of Congress provision that says the EU directive extended the ETS to include international civil aviation without working through ICAO and that is inconsistent with the Chicago Convention. The Obama administration also is opposed to airline exclusion in the EU ETS.