Hot News: Final SNAP Rule 21 and 608 Rule Signed

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September 26th, 2016 US EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed the final version of Rule 21 under the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program and the final rule to extend provisions of Section 608 of the Clean Air Act to HFCs.

The EPA states that the final SNAP rule:
  • Expands the list of acceptable substitutes in the refrigeration and air conditioning (AC), and fire suppression sectors;
  • Lists unacceptable substitutes in specific end-uses in the refrigeration and AC sector;
  • Changes the status of a number of substitutes that were previously listed as acceptable in the refrigeration and AC, and foam blowing sectors;
  • Lists propane as acceptable, subject to use conditions, as a refrigerant in certain new equipment and exempting it in these end-uses from the venting prohibition under the Clean Air Act; and
  • Applies the existing listing decisions for foam blowing agents to closed cell foam products and products containing closed cell foam.
  • anticipates that this rule will result in a reduction of up to 7 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent (MMTCO2eq) in 2025.


Additional points of interest related to Section 608

The agency indicates that the final Section 608 rule:

  • Extends the requirements of the Refrigerant Management Program under this section of the Clean Air Act to cover substitute refrigerants, such as HFCs. Substitutes previously exempted some substitutes from the Section 608 venting prohibition through previous rules are also exempt from the requirements of this rule;
  • Lowers the leak rate thresholds that trigger the duty to repair refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment containing 50 or more pounds of refrigerant;
    • Lowers from 35% to 30% for industrial process refrigeration (IPR)
    • Lowers from 35% to 20% for commercial refrigeration equipment
    • Lowers from 15% to 10% for comfort cooling equipment
  • Requires quarterly/annual leak inspections or continuous monitoring devices for refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment that have exceeded the threshold leak rate;
  • Requires owners/operators to submit reports to EPA if systems containing 50 or more pounds of refrigerant leak 125% or more of their full charge in one calendar year;
  • Extends the sales restriction to HFCs and other non-exempt substitutes, with the exception of  small cans (containing 2 pounds or less) of non-exempt substitutes (e.g., primarily HFC-134a) for motor vehicle air conditioner servicing. These small cans can continue to be sold without technician certification so long as the small cans have a self-sealing valve to reduce refrigerant releases; and
  • Requires technicians to keep a record of refrigerant recovered during system disposal from systems with a charge size from 5–50 lbs.


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 Please click on the links below for additional important details:

The agency’s press release on the signing of the two final rules: => EPA Finalizes Two Rules to Reduce Use and Emissions of Potent Greenhouse Gases


A fact sheet on the final rule: => Final Rule 21 – Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Significant New Alternatives Policy Program New and Changed Listings


An advance copy of the final rule as signed: => Final Rule – Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: New Listings of Substitutes; Changes of Listing Status; and Reinterpretation of Unacceptability for Closed Cell Foam Products under the Significant New Alternatives Policy Program; and Revision of Clean Air Act Section 608 Venting Prohibition for Propane


The agency created separate fact sheets on how the rule affects supermarkets and property and facility managers; refrigerant distributors; small appliance recyclers; reclaimers and technicians: => Revised Section 608 Refrigerant Management Regulations


An advance copy of the final rule as signed: => Final Rule – Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Update to the Refrigerant Management Requirements under the Clean Air Act


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