EU-ETS costly, intrusive, unfair to business aviation: NBAA
March 28, 2012, Washington, D.C. - A senior pilot and operations technical specialist with Gulfstream Aerospace today appeared before the House Aviation Subcommittee to express the business aviation community's firm opposition to the European Union's (EU's) proposed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
"The companies of all sizes that rely on business aviation are unified with the rest of the aviation community in our alarm over the proposed scheme," said Leo McStravick, Senior Flight Operations Technical Specialist with Gulfstream, who testified before the subcommittee on the industry's behalf. "The proposal is unfair, intrusive, administratively burdensome and fails any reasonable cost-benefit test for the environment.
In addition to imposing a costly administrative burden on businesses flying from the U.S. to European destinations, McStravick noted that the EU's scheme is discriminatory because businesses that utilize general aviation are not eligible for carbon offsets, as they are not defined as "commercial."
McStravick pointed out that the EU-ETS also raises serious concerns about personal privacy and business confidentiality, because the scheme would require companies to provide a wealth of sensitive data, including bank account information, flight data and other disclosures, all of which would be made available to the public.
Additionally, McStravick explained, the scheme would do little to address global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, because the EU has no authority to require member states to reinvest revenues from the ETS into aviation research and development, or other emission-abatement initiatives. "In other words," McStravick said, "the EU-ETS would have anyone who flies from the U.S. into European airspace directly subsidizing foreign governments at the expense of aviation.
"Here's the bottom line: Instead of trying to fix an approach that is this broken, we in the industry would rather return to the appropriate, internationally driven process for addressing aviation emissions," McStravick concluded.
He said U.S. business aviation has a long-standing commitment to further reducing its already-small environmental footprint, with continuous improvements in fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Like others in the aviation industry, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is a committed member of a worldwide aviation coalition that has brought an aggressive proposal to further address aviation GHG emissions to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the appropriate body to establish such standards for global civil aviation.
NBAA has joined with 15 other organizations representing the spectrum of the U.S. aviation and travel industries in strenuously opposing the application of the EU-ETS on U.S. airlines and general aviation, and supporting the objections of the U.S. government as a matter of international law and U.S. sovereignty.
Congress has repeatedly expressed its concern over the EU-ETS. In October of last year, the House passed H.R. 2594, "The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011," which would prohibit all flights originating in the U.S. from participating in the scheme, and would direct the Federal Aviation Administration to take every step possible to ensure flight operators are not penalized by the program. Similar legislation was introduced in the Senate last year.
"Our thanks to Leo for expressing to Congress the business aviation community's alarm over the impact of the EU's onerous emissions scheme," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. "We also commend Congressional lawmakers for advancing legislation to address the scheme, and holding hearings to highlight its many flaws."
NBAA has developed online tools to assist Members in understanding EU-ETS compliance.