EPA Regulations on Aviation Sector Forthcoming
-Shraddha Chaudhary, III Year, B.A., LL.B. (Hons.)
In 2007, the Centre for Biological Diversity (CBD) and Friends of the Earth, had petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States of America to find out what measures it had taken under the Clean Air Act to combat environmental damage caused by airplane carbon emissions. From the findings pursuant to the petition, the two organisations had reached the conclusion that the Bush government had systematically tried to exclude the Aviation sector from policy measures against global warming.
In August this year, the two organisations expressed their intent to sue the EPA for not taking the requisite measures against the aviation sector even after reports have indicated that it is responsible for approximately 11 percent of the USA’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, recent reports also indicated that as the sector expands rapidly, carbon emissions increase by about 3 to 5 percent every year. In response to this, the EPA has taken steps to add aircraft emissions to the list of regulated pollution sources. In its statement, the EPA said it would study the issue of greenhouse gas emissions from aircrafts, the first step in the regulatory process, and release its findings by next April. If the agency finds airline emissions to be a risk to public health or the environment, it will begin the process of crafting rules. The rules would make airplanes subject to carbon emissions guidelines in a process similar to the one currently underway for vehicles and power plants.
The problem with this regulatory process is that unlike vehicular pollution, pollution by aircrafts cannot be combatted simply by reducing the number of flights, especially considering the demand in the market. Furthermore, as a sector that is very essentially international in this character, a piecemeal national approach would be short term and unsuccessful. Keeping these limitations in mind, the EPA and FAA are actively working with the International Civil Aviation Organisation to come up with aircrafts and flight plans which are more in tune with acceptable levels of emission, by 2016.
 Jared Anderson, EPA Pressured to Regulate Aircraft Emissions, Energy Roundup (September 5th, 2014), available at http://breakingenergy.com/2014/09/05/energy-news-roundup-epa-pressured-to-regulate-aircraft-emissions-bp-ruled-grossly-negligent-and-saudi-oil-sales-to-us-down/.
 Unidentified, Pushing EPA to Regulate Aviation Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Climate Science Watch (September 5th, 2014), available at http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/2014/08/08/pushing-epa-to-regulate-aviation-greenhouse-gas-emissions/.
 Ari Philips, As Aircraft Emissions Skyrocket, EPA Looks into Regulation for the First Time, Climate Progress (September 5th, 2014), available at http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/09/05/3563670/aircraft-emissions-regulation-epa/.