The Biden administration is sticking by the EPA’s approved aviation emissions regulations, which were finalized in the closing days of the Trump administration, and is defending those standards in court against a legal challenge brought by environmental groups.
The decision came after the administration considered replacing the standards with stricter emission limits through a new public rulemaking process, which the EPA made official in a court filing on Nov. 15.
The regulations, which will apply to commercial aircraft and large business jets that roll off the assembly line starting in 2028, are the first-ever set by the federal government for aircraft greenhouse gas emissions. They harmonize U.S aircraft emission rules with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation standards which were established in 2016.
The Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and the Centre of Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit in January to challenge the requirements, claiming that they are more than ten years behind current aviation engine technology and hence will have no significant impact. Separately, 11 states and the District of Columbia have petitioned to have the requirements overturned
The EPA stated in a statement that the emissions restrictions were enforced following the 2016 ICAO agreement, which was proposed by the Obama administration.
“At the same time, the Biden administration realizes that more action is needed across the transportation sector, particularly in the aviation sector, to dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions to successfully address the climate issue,” the agency added.
“At the upcoming round of ICAO discussions, the United Stated will push for ambitious new international CO2 rules”.