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Fri, May 14, 2010

Senate Energy Legislation Has Airline Industry On Edge

ATA: Airlines Committed To Fuel Efficiency And CO(2) Reduction Improvements

Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Kerry (D-MA) unveiled the Senate version of an energy bill Wednesday that includes cap-and-trade language for carbon emissions and specific CO(2) reduction targets.

“The American Power Act is fundamentally different from previous energy and climate bills – and not just because it will be the one that actually passes,” said Senator Lieberman in a news release.  “Our bill will create jobs and transform the American economy; make our country more energy independent, which in turn will strengthen our national security; and improve the quality of the air we breathe.  We are proud to have support from a growing and unprecedented coalition of business, national security, faith, and environmental communities, who are energized to work hard to pass this bill this year. America has a lot to gain from getting started now.”

The New York Times reports that the bill would, for the first time, set mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions, beginning with a 17 percent reduction over 2005 levels by 2020. Transportation emissions would be included in a national carbon cap, and administered through a separate trading program. By 2030, industries would have to pay for carbon credits without government assistance. The bill reportedly currently has no Republican support.

The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), a trade organization for U.S. airlines, today issued the following statement in response to the release of the climate change legislation sponsored by Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman:

"ATA is in the process of conducting a thorough review of the bill. It is important to recognize that the U.S. airline industry has adopted a set of targets and measures as part of the worldwide aviation industry commitment to a global sectoral approach on aviation emissions. Through this, the U.S. airlines alone will save more than 16 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions through 2050 on top of substantial savings already achieved," said ATA President and CEO James C. May. "We trust that if Congress pursues this legislation, it will adopt this approach versus imposing punitive industry and passenger taxes."

ATA says that annually, commercial aviation helps drive more than $1 trillion in U.S. economic activity and nearly 11 million U.S. jobs. On a daily basis, U.S. airlines operate approximately 25,000 flights in 80 countries, using more than 6,000 aircraft to carry an average of two million passengers and 30,000 tons of cargo. ATA airline members and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic.

FMI: http://lieberman.senate.gov, www.airlines.org

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