Thune, McCaskill: “Hold the line” on aviation emissions taxes

Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Ranking Member Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) urged the U.S. delegation to the International Civil Aviation Organization to continue to “hold the line” on aircraft emission taxes in a letter sent on Tuesday.

Thune and McCaskill co-authored a bill that exempted U.S. aviators from emissions taxes outlined in the ICAO’s European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, which led leaders from the EU to postpone applying a new emissions tax.

Thune and McCaskill’s legislation, the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act, directs the secretary of transportation and other government officials to “hold operators of civil aircraft of the United States harmless from the emissions trading scheme.”

The measure also directed the secretary of transportation and other officials to utilize “their authority to conduct international negotiations to pursue a worldwide approach to address aircraft emissions.”

The ICAO General Assembly, however, recently rejected unilateral approaches to address aviation emissions.

The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act, which was signed into law in 2012, prompted the ICAO to postpone emissions taxes on international flights in and out of Europe for one year.

During the ICAO General Assembly, EU leaders considered how to impose some provisions of the EU ETS while the prohibition remains in effect until early 2014.