WASHINGTON, DC (February 21, 2014)- Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) and Senator Chris Murphy (Connecticut) led their colleagues in a letter to Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), calling on EPA to take more aggressive action to cut down on production of an industrial “super pollutant” that does 1,800 times more damage to the climate that carbon dioxide. The letter was signed by 17 Senators and 24 Members of the House of Representatives.
In December, EPA unveiled a new proposal to reduce production of HCFC-22, a refrigerant chemical that’s also a potent greenhouse gas. HCFCs — hydrochlorofluorocarbons — are currently being phased-down under the Montreal Protocol, a Reagan-era treaty to end the use of chemicals that harm the ozone layer. HCFCs are used in refrigerators, air-conditioning systems, and foam blowers.
The consensus among the letter’s signatories is that EPA’s initial proposal will still allow far too much new HCFC-22 to be produced, on top of a substantial existing stockpile of the environmentally harmful chemical.
The text and signatories of the letter can be seen here.
Arlington, VA (February 3, 2014) – The Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy (Alliance) submitted a petition for rulemaking to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Friday, January 31, 2014. The request seeks to include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the provisions of Title VI, Section 608 of the Clean Air Act intended to reduce refrigerant gas emissions. Including HFCs under Section 608 would reduce the emissions of these important compounds that provide safe and effective refrigeration and air conditioning services but are also greenhouse gases. Section 608 already includes requirements for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).
The Alliance estimates that the inclusion of HFCs under Section 608 could reduce HFC emissions by 15-20% in the United States. The primary goal of Section 608 is to minimize the loss of refrigerant to the atmosphere by improving the practices utilized during the servicing of air conditioning and refrigeration appliances. It sets certain leak and recovery standards and requires enhanced certification of equipment and technicians.
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According to the EPA’s memo (2012 to 2014 Allocation Overview Memo), the EPA will continue to use the same HCFC-22 baseline as established in the 2011 Interim Final Rule. The Final 2012 – 2014 Allocation Rule will provide fewer HCFC-22 consumption allowances relative to the 2009 Final Rule and the same percentage of baseline for HCFC-22 production allowances relative to the 2009 Final Rule.
A pre-publication copy of the rule can be found here –2012-2014 Pre-Publication HCFC Allocation Rule
In HARDI’s December 21st E-Newsletter update entitled “HARDI Advocacy Advisory”, HARDI suggests that “Distributors should prepare for both another delay in the issuance of “no action assurance” letters by the EPA and a further reduction in the amount of R-22 which will be allocated. In 2012, approximately 55 million pounds of R-22 were allowed for production/importation in the United States and it is the recommendation of HARDI that distributors plan for another significant reduction in R-22 availability, likely to 45 million pounds nationally in 2013.”