Environmental Group Sues White House over Jet Emissions

The Center for Biological Diversity has sued the Trump Administration over its refusal to release public records regarding its failure to develop greenhouse gas emission standards for airplanes, as required by the Clean Air Act. The lawsuit seeks emails and other documentation from the U.S. State Department, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the the Environmental Protection Agency about potential aircraft emissions standards and participation in the International Civil Aviation Organizaiton's carbon dioxide rulemaking process.

Among the documents sought are those between government officials and aircraft makers and airlines. The organization requested the documents in February under the Freedom of Information Act, but the U.S. government has yet to comply.

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“Americans deserve to know what backroom deals might be killing efforts to curb dangerous airplane pollution,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center’s climate law institute. “By shirking its legal duty to address airplane emissions, the Trump Administration is slipping the aviation industry a free pass to dirty our air and heat up the planet."

A recent report found that U.S. domestic airline fuel use increased 7 percent between 2014 and 2016, virtually erasing efficiency gains of 3 percent. In March 2017, ICAO agreed to institute aircraft emission standards, but the group warned that if the U.S. does not set standards as stringent, U.S. aircraft manufacturers would need to voluntarily meet the international standard or seek hard-to-get exemptions for their products to fly internationally.