The sweeping Green New Deal resolution put forward by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Thursday has elicited concern from the Democratic head of the House's aviation subcommittee.

The 14-page resolution calls for overhauling U.S. transportation systems to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions "as much as is technologically feasible." It specifically mentions placing a focus on high-speed rail. No mention is made of aviation. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Controversy, however, was stirred by Ocasio-Cortez, who provided more details of her Green Deal vision in an overview of the resolution. There, she called for building out high-speed rail "at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary."

It was that explanation that got the attention of House aviation subcommittee chairman Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), whose district includes Everett, home of the Boeing factory. 

In a statement Thursday, Larsen seemed torn between his support for green technology and his concerns about Ocasio-Cortez's view of aviation. 

"It is difficult to support the resolution right now when one of the lead sponsors says one of the intentions is to make air travel unnecessary," Larsen said. "I cannot sell that position to the 23,000 women and men who live and work in Washington's Second District who support the U.S. aviation economy by making the safest aircraft and aerospace products in the world. There is a lot of good in the resolution, but I have a lot of questions."

Not all Democrats who are influential on aviation policy are as concerned about Ocasio Cortez's view as Larsen. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), who chairs the House transportation committee, is among the resolution's co-sponsors.

The aspirational resolution also calls for an all-encompassing overhaul of the American energy system over the next decade with the goal achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions while improving economic prosperity and decreasing social injustice. 

Among its 11 Senate co-sponsors, all Democrats, are several who have either announced presidential bids or are thought to be considering a bid. Sixty-six members of the House, also all Democrats, have co-sponsored the bill. 


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