WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a final timeline for the phase down in production of virgin HCFC-22 leading to the refrigerant’s total phase out in 2020.

The proposal picks up on a previous timeline in production that allowed 62.8 million pounds of new R-22 in 2013 and 51 million pounds in 2014.

What the EPA is calling its “preferred HCFC-22 Consumption Allocation for 2015-2019” shows a production allowance of about 30 million pounds in 2015, 24 million pounds in 2016, 18 million pounds in 2018, 6 million pounds in 2019, and zero in 2020.

The EPA also advanced two what it called “variations.” The first starts the final phase down at about 27 million pounds in 2015 and ends all production as of 2018. The other option is what is called an “estimation approach” that allows about 50 million pounds in 2015 and bases the phase down to 2020 on “estimates of servicing need, recovery and reuse and could also account for transitions to alternative and any estimates of existing R-22 inventory,” according to a statement from the EPA.

A 60-day comment period takes effect once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, which could take place as early as this week. That means the comment period could extend well into February at the earliest, after which the EPA would take time to issue a final rule that could come well into 2014.

Publication date: 12/9/2013

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