Energy & Environment

Green groups threaten to sue EPA over airplane pollution

Environmental groups on Thursday threatened to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over what they view as the agency’s failure to act on aircraft emissions. 

“Ambitious, technology-forcing regulation to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas pollutants from aircraft are long overdue and urgently needed,” said a notice of intent to sue from the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth and Earthjustice. 

“Over three years after finding that aircraft greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and welfare, EPA continues to neglect its duty to regulate global warming pollutants from aircraft emissions,” it added. 

The groups intend to sue the agency in 180 days, according to the notice. 

Aircrafts account for 3 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and 12 percent of all transportation greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA’s website

The EPA’s fall 2019 regulatory agenda says that the agency “anticipates adopting domestic [greenhouse gas] standards that would be at least as stringent” as standards adopted by the  International Civil Aviation Organization in 2017.  

The “EPA is working to address this issue in 2020,” an agency official told The Hill in an email.

Aircraft emissions have also been a part of recent legislation floated by the House. 

A draft of House Democrats’ newly unveiled climate plan would require new and existing in-service aircraft engines  to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030.

A new outline of a Democratic infrastructure bill would also aims to incentivize the development of sustainable aviation fuels and aircraft technology to reduce carbon pollution.


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