EPA to Regulate Airplane Emissions but Industry-Friendly International Standards May Be Its Guide
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Barack Obama has declared that emissions from passenger planes are a health hazard and should be regulated under the Clean Air Act (pdf), which until now hasn’t been applied to the airline industry.
It could be years before any new regulations take effect. The EPA is waiting until the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) concludes its negotiations on the issue, which is scheduled to happen next year. It’s likely that no regulations would be finalized until Obama is out of office.
In addition, it hasn’t been decided to which planes the new regulations would apply. Under the stricter scenario, new admission standards would apply to any commercial jetliners built after a certain date, now expected to be Jan. 1, 2020. But by a looser rule, the standards would apply only to types of planes certified after the given date. So planes that had already been type-certified could continue to be manufactured under the older standards, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation.
The problem with using ICAO regulations as a model, according to environmentalists, is the organization is too cozy with the industry and likely to produce weak rules of its own.
“Airplane carbon pollution is skyrocketing, but the EPA is still dodging responsibility for curbing this climate threat,” Vera Pardee, senior counsel and supervising lawyer at the Center for Biological Diversity, told The New York Times. “Passing the buck to an international organization that’s virtually run by the airline industry won’t protect our planet from these rapidly growing emissions.”
Some environmental groups have urged the EPA to adopt standards now and let the ICAO use them as a model.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley
To Learn More:
EPA Takes Step to Cut Emissions From Planes (by Jad Mouawad and Coral Davenport, New York Times)
EPA: Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Airplanes Are Dangerous To Human Life (by Samantha Page, ThinkProgress)
EPA Takes Crucial Step Toward Climate Rules For Airplanes (by Alex Guillen, Politico)
Supreme Court Upholds EPA’s Right to Regulate Power-Plant Emissions…with Minor Limitations (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Bumpier Plane Flights Predicted as Global Warming Disrupts High-Altitude Air Currents (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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