While it flirts with the possibility of disintegration and collapse, the European Union has found a novel way to raise some revenue: It’s effectively imposing a tax on passengers flying over the United States. Yes, you read that right. The proposed tax, which is a carbon tax intended to combat climate change, would hit anyone landing in any EU airport, regardless of where the flight originated or how many miles it flew outside the EU. So a passenger from LAX to Madrid could find themselves subject to the tax, despite the fact that the bulk of their flight was over American airspace and the Atlantic Ocean.
The Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will hold a hearing on the EU’s taxation without representation today. The hearing will “examine issues associated with the inclusion of the airline sector in the ETS, a program that caps greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) for certain industries in the EU, and its potential impact on U.S. air carrier operations.” The hearing takes place at 2:30 eastern this afternoon and will be webcast live, here.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) is leading the charge against the EU’s unfair tax on Americans, rightly calling the tax an assault on US sovereignty:
U.S. airline carriers and passengers are now facing an unprecedented tax levied on them in American airspace by a body that has no jurisdiction whatsoever in the United States: the European Union.
As of the first of the year, the E.U. now includes aviation in its so-called E.U. Emissions Trading System. Practically speaking, this means U.S. airlines and passengers will be forced to pay a climate change tax for flights originating in or destined for the E.U. This tax is not just being levied for flight time spent in E.U. airspace, but for time spent in international and U.S. airspace as well. Needless to say, the E.U. has no authority to impose a tax on Americans flying in American or other non-E.U. international airspace. Its attempt to do so is an affront to America’s sovereignty and to international law.
US airlines, a bipartisan swath of legislators, the Obama administration and even the Russians and Chinese oppose this tax scam that violates just about every norm of national sovereignty and international law. The usual suspects in the Big Green movement are, of course, fine with the EU imposing a tax on American citizens flying in American airspace. More taxes and weaker US sovereignty fit perfectly in Big Green’s wheelhouse.