In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that they were going to phase-out HFC refrigerants through a new rule under Section 612 of the Clean Air Act. The new rule, SNAP Rule 20, set a schedule to phase-out HFC refrigerants like R-134a, R-404a, and R-410a. For more details on this rule click here. Although many in the refrigerant industry began to prepare for the next phase of refrigerants, a lawsuit, brought by Mexichem and Arkema, overturned SNAP Rule 20 due to the fact that EPA did not have authority under the Clean Air Act to target HFC’s. The Clean Air Act’s original intention was to phase-out ozone depleting refrigerants, and while HFC’s have high global warming potential, they are not ozone depleting.
While Honeywell and Chemour’s appealed the courts decision, they were ultimately ruled against marking the end of SNAP Rule 20. Although the EPA has acknowledged that they will no longer enforce the rule, we know eventually HFC’s will be phased-out for lower global warming potential refrigerants like HFO’s.
We would prefer that the state department adopt the Kigali Amendment, which sets the framework for a global phase-down of HFC refrigerants. Read our opinion on the benefits to the Kigali Amendment here.
Without the Kigali Amendment, states will create their own phase-down laws, similar to what California’s CARB is doing. A worldwide phase-down would be much cleaner and easier for the industry as a whole. For now, we wait until the Trump Administration decides their course of action for HFC phase-downs.