The EPA last week said it would propose an endangerment finding, which would allow it to regulate aircraft greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act if it determines that aircraft GHGs contribute to air pollution and endanger public health.
The agency says it will release its findings in April 2015.
The EPA has in the past used endangerment findings to implement the so-called tailpipe rule, which set GHG emission standards for cars and light trucks, with fuel economy standards issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration beginning with model year 2012.
The tailpipe rule automatically triggered regulation of stationary GHG emitters under the Clean Air Act, requiring state-issued permits for iron and steel mill plants, among others, if they have the potential to emit more than 100 tons per year of “any air pollutant.”
These regulations went into effect Jan. 2, 2011.
The EPA’s recent move to regulate aviation emissions comes as the International Civil Aviation Organization has agreed to create a market-based program to reduce airline emissions — starting in 2020 — with details to be decided in 2016.