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. But 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.
In April, 2018 EPA published a Notice of Guidance regarding the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program to “dispel confusion and provide regulatory certainty for stakeholders affected by EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy program final rule” from July, 2015 and says that EPA “Will not apply the HFC listings in the 2015 Rule, pending a rulemaking.”
California, however, has adopted regulations prohibiting the use of HFCs “to preserve and continue in California some of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (U.S. EPA) prior prohibitions on HFCs.”