US senators introduce bill to phase down HFCs
Thirty-two US Senators — 16 from each party — have cosponsored a bill to phase down HFCs and authorize EPA to facilitate transitions to next generation refrigerant technologies.
After months of intensive work among industry stakeholders and government representatives, two US Senators introduced Senate Bill 2754, The American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act of 2019, on November 1. Thirty-two Senators—16 from each party— have cosponsored this bill aiming to phase-down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
The official statement accompanying S. 2754 bill has three main objectives:
. Gradually phase down the production and consumption of HFCs through an allowance allocation and trading program. The bill sets a schedule for cutting HFC production and import by 85% by 2036, according to a phasedown schedule identical to that of the Kigali Amendment – which has not been ratified by the US to date – to the Montreal Protocol.
. Authorize the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish standards for the management of HFCs used as refrigerants and for the recovery of used HFCs.
. Authorize the EPA to facilitate transitions to next-generation technologies by establishing sector-based use restrictions.
Senate Bill 2754 has the backing of both industry and environmentalists, including the US Chamber of Commerce, the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy, representing chemical makers and product manufacturers that use HFCs.
Meanwhile, state governments continue to press forward regulating HFCs. Ten states have enacted or announced plans to curb HFCs in uses where there are safe alternatives: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Washington, and, recently, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. More states are expected to do the same. However, the Senate’s bill does not include federal preemption, a component that would have prohibited any state from going beyond the measures in the legislation.
The Alliance forecasts that the HFC phasedown will create 33,000 American jobs and will increase U.S. exports by US 5 billion over the next decade.
Smanatha Slater, vice president of government affairs for AHRI, expects “a House of Representatives version to match S. 2457 on the most substantive elements, if not in every detail”.