US Senate Passes Law Banning US based Aircraft Operators from Complying with the EU ETS


Yesterday the US Senate voted on and passed S. 1956, a bill which makes it illegal for an aircraft operator of the United States to comply with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

The lower house already having passed similar legislation without opposition some time ago, however minor amendments were made to the Senate bill, most notably a clause requiring international negotiations. While this is a very reasonable and sensible step, it does now mean the bill must be voted upon again in the House. The oncoming circus that is the US election will delay this process, as both Houses are in recess until November, but should it pass the House (again), only a Presidential veto would prevent this bill from becoming law.

While most of the comments by politicians and NGO spokesmen have focused on the impact this legislation will have on airlines, it should be noted that the legislation refers to ‘an operator of a civil aircraft of the United States’ and many the 3,000 business jet operators affected by the scheme are N-reg. It is unclear what the implications for these operators will be, but the bill states ‘The Secretary of Transportation, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, and other appropriate officials of the United States Government...take other actions under existing authorities that are in the public interest necessary to hold operators of civil aircraft of the United States harmless from the emissions trading scheme’. How this would happen is never explained.


The industry can do nothing more than wait for someone to blink.