ARLINGTON, Va. — The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy expressed strong support for a bipartisan amendment introduced by Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Committee Ranking Democrat Tom Carper (D-Del.), and Senator John Kennedy (R-La.), filed as an amendment to the Senate Energy Bill introduced last spring by Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Committee Ranking Democrat Joe Machin (D- W.V.).
The amendment is a bipartisan compromise based on the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (S. 2754), a bipartisan bill introduced last year by Senators Kennedy and Carper that would boost American manufacturing of next-generation refrigerant technologies, promote American innovation, and create tens of thousands of new domestic manufacturing jobs.
Enactment of the Barrasso-Carper-Kennedy amendment would settle the uncertain regulatory landscape facing the U.S. HVACR industry by phasing down a class of refrigerants known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and allowing for a market- and consumer-friendly transition to new and better performing refrigerants and related products and equipment.
“This amendment brings us one step closer to implementing an HFC phasedown and reaping the substantial economic benefits associated with this transition to new refrigerant technologies,” said AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek. “The amendment will accomplish our industry’s refrigerant objectives while protecting consumers and providing significant economic and environmental benefits, and we are grateful to this bipartisan group of Senate leaders for their assistance and foresight.”
“We are appreciative of the strong bipartisan support for this legislation,” said Alliance Executive Director Kevin Fay, “as it provides for clear development of a uniform, federally-based HFC phasedown in the United States that will also enhance continued American technology leadership in our country as well as around the globe.”
The revised amendment will authorize a 15-year phasedown of HFCs at a national level for the first time, administered by the EPA. The amendment requires the EPA to implement an 85 percent phase down of the production and consumption of HFCs, so they reach approximately 15 percent of their 2011-2013 average annual levels by 2036. Under the agreement, the revised amendment will also:
- Protect essential uses of HFCs, including ensuring there are sufficient supplies of HFCs for congressionally-designated essential uses of HFCs that currently have no substitute chemicals, including defense sprays, medical inhalers, semiconductor manufacturing, and mission-critical military uses;
- Preempt state and local governments from regulating HFCs for the congressionally-designated essential uses for at least five years (which can be extended to 10 if there remains no substitute chemical for a particular use); and
- Provide protection for consumers from cost increases by ensuring the EPA cannot accelerate the 15-year regulatory timeline faster than the HFC-consumption levels that the market is already achieving.