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Groups Sue EPA to Force Airplane Air Pollution Rules

airplaneTwo environmental groups have sued the EPA to force the agency to set emissions limits for aircraft.

The lawsuit, filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, says the EPA has “delayed unreasonably” the rulemaking process for airplane climate pollution.

In 2010 the groups sued to force the EPA to limit emissions from aircraft. A year later a federal court ruled that the Clean Air Act requires the agency to determine whether airline emissions put human health in danger.

Last year the EPA said greenhouse gas emissions generated by commercial aircraft contribute to global warming and endanger human health, a declaration that lays the groundwork for regulating domestic aircraft emissions. But the agency has yet to finalize this endangerment finding. An EPA spokesperson told Reuters the agency expects to finalize the finding this summer.

“The EPA has dawdled for almost a decade, even as airplane emissions are on track to spiral out of control,” said Vera Pardee, a senior attorney with the Center’s Climate Law Institute, in a statement.

In February, the United Nation’s aviation body proposed carbon pollution limits for airplanes, but the International Civil Aviation Organization did not release details of its proposal.

The UN agency did say the emissions standard would only apply to new aircraft models as of 2020. It would also apply to new deliveries of existing models from 2023 and have a cut-off date of 2028 for production of aircraft that do not comply with the new emissions standard. The ICAO’s governing body is expected to approve the proposal later this year.

The White House says the standards are expected to reduce carbon emissions more than 650 million tons between 2020 and 2040.

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