White House Going After Airplane Emissions
EPA says they endanger health, first step toward regulations
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2015 1:50 PM CDT
A Southwest Airlines jet takes off from Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport in this file photo.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – Actual regulations are still a good five years away, but the EPA took the first step today toward stricter rules on airplane emissions: The agency released a finding that the emissions contribute to air pollution and thus pose a risk to public health. Next will come years of wrangling over new rules, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that the US might eventually adopt standards being developed by a branch of the UN called the International Civil Aviation Organization. Though the rules won't be in place on President Obama's watch, they "could significantly strengthen" his environmental legacy, observes the New York Times. The administration also is tightening rules on power plants and heavy-duty trucks.

The stories note that airplane emissions currently account for about 2% of total carbon emissions globally. "That sounds small, but it's nearly as much as the emissions produced by Germany, the sixth-greatest greenhouse gas producing country," reports AP. The airline industry has generally been shifting toward cleaner fuels on its own, and it will likely push back against the tougher rules, with help from Republicans skeptical of the EPA, reports Politico. “Just when I thought the EPA couldn’t get more ridiculous,” Sen. Tom Cotton tweeted today when the news broke. Environmentalists tell AP they don't expect the rules to be in place until 2020 at the earliest.