EPA studies airline emissions

In a process that won’t be completed until after a new president takes office, the Environmental Protection Agency took a step Wednesday toward regulating greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes.

The agency said airplane emissions endanger human health because they contribute to climate change.

The EPA said the years of regulatory study will dovetail with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s 5-year-old effort to develop worldwide carbon emission standards for aircraft.

ICAO has been working with the aviation industry and other stakeholders. It is expected to adopt standards early next year.

American Airlines, the world’s largest air carrier, is based in Fort Worth. Dallas/Fort Worth Airport is the world’s third-largest airport, with 680,000 aircraft landings and takeoffs each year.

Additional regulations, which airlines say are unnecessary and would drive up costs, could have a local economic impact. At the same time, North Texas has intense interest in clean air.

The EPA process will bear close watching.