Wings Magazine

News
Markey presses EPA to consider aviation’s contribution to global warming

Jan. 8, 2008, Washington – Chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming today asked the EPA whether the agency has plans to regulate heat-trapping global warming emissions from America’s aviation sector.


January 8, 2008
By Carey Fredericks

Jan. 8, 2008, Washington – Chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming today asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) whether the agency has plans to regulate heat-trapping global warming emissions from America’s aviation sector, continuing the committee’s ongoing investigation into aviation’s increasing contribution to global warming and what can be done to reduce those emissions.

“The EPA has a clear role to play in protecting Americans from the worst impacts of heat-trapping emissions that cause global warming. 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,” said Chairman Markey.

In April 2007, the Supreme Court affirmed the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases and obligation to protect the public health and welfare from the effects of global warming. Unfortunately, the Bush administration has taken no actions to regulate global warming emissions, and is threatening legal action if other countries move to cut heat-trapping emissions from their airplanes.

While the European Union’s 27 member states have now agreed to include aviation in the E.U.’s carbon dioxide cap-and-trade scheme, the Bush administration has threatened to take legal action against the E.U. should it seek to enforce a cap on aviation emissions. In addition, the administration has not responded to a petition calling for action on aviation emissions submitted last month by environmental organizations and the states of California, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New Mexico, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the City of New York.

Advertisment

The Chairman’s letter asks EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson to several questions including: 

·       Does EPA support regulating the emissions of greenhouse gases from aircraft?

·       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?

·       What advice, if any, has EPA provided to the FAA regarding the need to anticipate the regulation of CO2 and other emissions from commercial aviation?

·       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?

Chairman Markey sent a similar letter to the Federal Aviation Administration this fall. The FAA responded that they had not yet made any decision on regulating emissions, and looked to the EPA for advice on the matter of aviation pollution.

The full letter is available at http://globalwarming.house.gov/mediacenter/letters?id=0010