US Environmental Protection Agency pressured by House of Representatives select committee to act on emissions from US aviation
Edward J. Markey
Tue 8 Jan 2008 - The Chairman of the US House of Representatives Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, Edward J. Markey (D-Mass), has written to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pressing for a response as to whether the agency plans to act on aviation emissions.
The committee, set up a year ago, is investigating aviation’s increasing contribution to global warming and what can be done to reduce those emissions, which Markey says in his letter is “imperative”.
“The EPA has a clear role to play in protecting Americans from the worst impacts of heat-trapping emissions that cause global warming,” said Markey. “When it comes to the contribution of jet aviation to the looming threat of a climate catastrophe, the Bush administration’s attempts to fly under the radar have increasingly become a flight from reality.”
The letter points out to the EPA the decision taken in Europe to include aviation emissions in a cap-and-trade scheme, which if implemented, says Markey, the Bush administration has threatened the EU with legal action.
He went on: “The Administration’s continuing failure to regulate greenhouse gas emissions no longer has any legal foundation. In April 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that EPA has the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases, thus clarifying EPA’s obligation to protect the public health and welfare from the effects of global warming.”
The letter also reminds the EPA of the petition submitted in December by environmental organizations, states and regional government to demand the EPA propose and adopt regulations on setting emission standards to limit pollutants from aircraft (see story).
The letter concludes by requesting answers to a number of questions the committee had:
1.Does EPA support regulating the emissions of greenhouse gases from aircraft. If not, why not?
2.What role, if any, did EPA play in the Administration’s threat of legal action against the EU should it seek to enforce a cap on the emissions of greenhouse gases from aviation?
3.What advice, if any, has EPA provided to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding the need to anticipate the regulation of CO2 and other emissions from commercial aviation?
4.What information or guidance has EPA provided to the FAA regarding estimates of CO2 and NOx emissions from aviation in the context of the development of the FAA/NextGen Environmental Management Framework?
5.Please identify any and all research cited by EPA in support of its view of the effect of aviation on climate change.
6.What is the status of EPA’s determination whether CO2 emissions cause or contribute to pollution that may reasonably be anticipated to be a danger to human health and welfare?
7.What is the status of EPA’s deliberations concerning whether aviation emissions such as CO2, NOx and other aviation pollutants are a danger to human health and welfare?