By John Crawley and Estelle Shirbon
A U.S. House committee pressured the Obama administration on Wednesday to accelerate diplomatic action to resolve a global dispute over a European law that would penalize airlines for aircraft emissions.
A bipartisan panel of Transportation Committee members, mindful that the EU standard that took effect in January could trigger a transatlantic trade fight, pushed senior State and Transportation department officials to formally launch a challenge at the United Nations.
"We have to have a united front and show people we mean business," Rep. John Mica, chairman of the transportation panel, said at a hearing.
Mica and other members expressed frustration with administration efforts so far to engage Europe, and said more forceful steps are needed to challenge the EU under international law.
"I think we've done everything we could do to try to reach some reasonable accord," Mica said.
The House has approved legislation that would prohibit U.S. airlines from complying with the law. Similar legislation is pending in the Senate, with a hearing set for next month.
Environmental groups also support a U.N.-brokered solution.