U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, both California Democrats, last week called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use California’s strict HFC regulations for air conditioning and refrigeration equipment as a model to further reduce the production and use of HFCs nationwide.

The EPA is in the process of implementing American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, which calls for a phase down of HFC use by 85% over the next 15 years, among other restrictions on HFCs.

California’s HFC regulations, enacted last December by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), includes a provision whereby, starting in 2022, new equipment with more than 50lbs (22.7kg) of refrigerant will be required to use refrigerant with a GWP of less than 150. California and other states have also adopted the EPA’s own Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program as it applies to HFC bans, which was rolled back during the Trump administration.

“We urge the administration to use the authorities in the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act to move forward on the petitions that have been submitted to reinstate the Significant New Alternatives Policy program and use California’s HFC regulations as a model nationwide,” the senators wrote in a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

“Doing so would significantly reduce the harmful effects of HFCs on our climate and the frontline communities who are disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis, while also helping the United States reach President Biden’s 2030 climate goals.”

In 2019, the letter noted, HFC emissions in the United States were equivalent to more than 170 million metric tons of carbon dioxide – that is the yearly greenhouse gas emissions from 44 coal-fired power plants or 37 million cars.

Last month, the Washington, D.C. (U.S.)-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) sent a letter to the EPA petitioning the agency to use new powers granted under AIM in the “most ambitious and effective way” to prohibit the use of HFCs.

shecco America, a division of shecco, publisher of this website, was a co-signatory on the petition along with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Green America.

We urge the administration to use the authorities in the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act to move forward on the petitions that have been submitted to reinstate the Significant New Alternatives Policy program and use California’s HFC regulations as a model nationwide.

U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla

Author Michael Garry