WASHINGTON — The U.S Supreme Court has declined to consider a review of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s decision to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ban on HFCs. This leaves in place the decision from last year, which overturned the EPA’s directives to ban high GWP refrigerants such as R-404A and R-410A from use in certain applications.

To recap, earlier this year, refrigerant manufacturers, Honeywell and Chemours, asked the Supreme Court to review an August 2017 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which stated the EPA could not ban HFCs through its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program, because that program was designed only to address ozone-depleting substances. While HFCs are among the greenhouse gases suspected of contributing to climate change, they do not deplete the ozone layer.

David Doniger, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), blasted the Supreme Court decision, noting, “The court’s decision lets irresponsible companies continue harming our planet — even though safer alternatives exist. Thankfully, states are stepping up. Four already have committed to curbing HFCs, and more are expected soon to follow the leadership of California, New York, Maryland, and Connecticut. NRDC will continue working with states and with responsible industry leaders to stay on track, and on schedule, in the transition to safe alternatives.”

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, Sen.Tom Carper (D-Del.), the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, noted, “The Supreme Court’s announcement is another troubling step back in American leadership on climate change, and it hurts American exporters. Despite this news, it further proves the urgent need for congressional action to limit emissions of a substance that has far more powerful warming effects than carbon dioxide. My bipartisan bill with Sen. Kennedy, the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, does just that by spurring a transition away from HFCs to American–made alternatives.”

In February, Carper and Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), introduced the AIM Act, which encourages the domestic production of more environmentally friendly alternatives and provides certainty to American manufacturers.

The EPA is currently working on a new HFC policy.

Publication date: 10/12/2018

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