The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to hold an online public hearing June 3 on the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act of 2020, which will phase down the production and consumption of HFCs. 

The EPA on May 3 issued its first proposed rule on the AIM Act. On May 19 the agency published the proposal in the Federal Register, triggering a 45-day comment period that ends July 6. Stakeholders may send comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2021- 0044, via the Federal eRulemaking Portal.

The June 3 meeting will address the HFC allocation requirements in the proposal. To attend the free meeting, register here.

Other proposals under the AIM Act, expected later this year, will focus on limiting which HFCs can be used in specific sectors, and refrigerant management requirements to control leaks and emissions from equipment.

The AIM Act, enacted last December, directs EPA to sharply reduce production and consumption of HFC pollutants by using an allowance allocation and trading program. This phase down will decrease the production and import of HFCs in the United States by 85% over the next 15 years. 

The EPA’s proposal would set the HFC production and consumption baseline levels from which reductions will be made, establish an initial methodology for allocating HFC allowances for 2022 and 2023, and create “a robust, agile, and innovative compliance and enforcement system,” said the EPA.

A final rule on the allowances proposal is expected to be released in September, noted Christina Starr, Senior Policy Analyst, Climate Campaign for the Environmental Investigation Agency, based in Washington, D.C. “The EPA is in a rush” to address the allocation next two years,” she added. “They could revisit it in 2024 and change it if necessary.”

Last month, the EIA sent a letter to Michael S. Regan, EPA Administrator petitioning the agency to use new powers granted under the AIM Act in the “most ambitious and effective way” to prohibit the use of HFCs.

Earlier this month, U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, both California Democrats, called on the 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] could revisit it in 2024 and change it if necessary.”

Christina Starr, EIA

Author Michael Garry