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Lawmakers on Capitol Hill said they don’t mind the EU charging emissions fees in their own airspace but objected in particular to the idea of the fee being extended to miles traveled in the U.S.

“We feel this proposal does not recognize the sovereignty of other nations,” said Justin Harclerode, a spokesman for the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which pushed the measure to prevent U.S. carriers from participating.

“Our Congress is not bound by that court decision,” he added, “and will take whatever steps it deems necessary to make its position known to the EU.”

China has threatened to block purchases from Airbus, a European airline manufacturer, to signal its unhappiness with the carbon charges. The EU plan could cost Chinese airlines $123 million in the first year, a number that will triple by 2020.

Dubai’s Emirates reports that it could cost the carrier as much as $1 billion over the next decade. Indian officials reportedly have told national carriers there not to supply carbon emissions data to the U.N. in a bid to frustrate the EU regulators.

European airlines say it’s only fair to include their international counterparts in the plan, as they face the same rules on internal European flights. But the rest of the airline industry argues that by including international carriers in the plan, the EU scheme will create an unbalanced playing field for airlines that are located in countries closer to the EU.

Perry Flint, a spokesman for the International Air Transport Association, called the EU plan an attack on U.S. airlines.

“The [Emissions Trading System] will introduce market distortions,” Mr. Flint said. “If you have a hub near Europe, you’re all-in costs will be lower than someone who has a hub further away from Europe.”

Environmental groups, including many from the U.S., applauded the move to charge airline emission fees. They say the ultimate goal is not to raise costs but to give airlines bottom-line incentives to cut their carbon emissions.

“Today’s decision, from the highest court in the European Union, makes clear Europe’s innovative law to reduce emissions from international fights is fully consistent with international law, does not infringe on the sovereignty of other nations, and is distinct from the charges and taxes subject to treaty limitations,” according to a coalition of environmental groups from the U.S. and Europe.

All money from the EU permit trading plan will go to efforts to combat climate change, European leaders say.

Martin Wagner, managing attorney at Earthjustice, which is part of the coalition, called the decision a “victory for the planet.”

The spotlight now turns to governments that are pressuring the EU to reverse its decision, according to the Airlines for American spokesman Mr. Lott.

“I think a lot of the focus going forward will come from the increasing governmental pressure,” he said. “You have seen tightening pressure from many countries.”