The Environmental & Energy Law Program is tracking the environmental regulatory rollbacks of the Trump administration. Click here for the list of rules we are following. If you’re a reporter and would like to speak with an expert on this rule please email us.
Why it Matters
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) were thought to be an acceptable substitute for ozone layer-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which the Montreal Protocol sought to phase out. It is now understood that HFCs have a high global warming potential and their continued use contributes to climate change. The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol seeks to phase out them out as well.
The Kigali Agreement has not yet entered into force. A recent court ruling casts doubt on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to consider climate change when regulating HFCs, under existing law. However, environmentalists and industry supporters are filing a petition to have the case heard in the Supreme Court.
On September 18, 2018, EPA issued a proposed rule Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Revisions to the Refrigerant Management Program’s Extension to Substitutes. The agency is proposing to rescind the November 18, 2016 extension of the leak repair provisions for appliances containing ozone-depleting substances to appliances using substitute refrigerants such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). This proposal also requests public comment on rescinding other provisions that were extended to substitute refrigerants. This proposal would not affect the requirements for ozone-depleting refrigerants. Once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, it will be open for public comment for 45 days.