SNAP 20 Court Decision Internal Statement – HARDI Refrigeration Council
The following is a statement to the HARDI membership from the Refrigeration & Refrigerants Council:
On January 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a petition to reinstitute an EPA regulation to phase-out the use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants. The original rule from 2015 was implemented under the Significant New Alternative Policy (SNAP) Rule-20. Such a phase-out, had the petition been accepted, would have impacted retail food refrigeration products.
The EPA rule stated that 38 HFC’s and HFC blends containing R404A, R134a, R407C, and R410A were to be removed from the EPA’s SNAP list of approved products. However, even with this regulation overturned, HVACR manufacturers have already started to move away from HFC’s in their product lines, with many alternatives such as HC’s and HFO’s already on the market. Future regulations that limit the use of HFC’s are almost certainly coming; however, they will require action by Congress.
While products banned under SNAP 20 are now legal to use, a better-structured phase-out of HFC’s is likely to return under new regulations. We encourage distributors to take a pro-active approach to educating customers on the impact of possible regulations. Being pro-active in educating customers on the availability of products that use HFC replacements can ease the future transition from high-GWP to low-GWP products.
Upon review of this court decision and the status of the industry, we have determined that HARDI members need to know the following:
- The SNAP 20 regulation is no longer in effect, any product that was banned including R-404A and R-410A will remain an allowed product until future regulations can be finalized.
- The case can still be appealed to the US Supreme Court; however, it is highly unlikely the case would be heard by the court or overturned.
- EPA does not currently have the authority to regulate HFC’s through the SNAP program
- Congress has multiple ways to give EPA authority:
- Ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol – this is a lengthy process and requires 67 votes to pass the Senate
- Pass legislation giving EPA the authority – Senator Kennedy (R-LA) has introduced the bipartisan American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act which would grant EPA authority to regulate HFC’s through a market-based regulation similar to the phase down of CFCs. HARDI has endorsed this legislation.
HARDI Refrigeration Council Update Post-Court Ruling:
The HARDI refrigeration council distributor members are concerned the direction of the EPA, as well as the other influencers, will move after the legal ruling. The council believes the following bullets are important for distribution to understand. In addition to having internal actionable plans to be prepared for whatever direction EPA will move towards with the HFC phase-down that we know are coming.
- A proactive approach to the HFC replacements products, those are available now.
- Smart planning for the coming Low GWP refrigerants (distribution must begin to understand how we take part in this channel and bring our expertise, training opportunities to professional contractor channel. As a general rule they are not prepared to support this technology).
- We should be watching closely the movement of CARB and other legislative challenges that may be coming from California concerning Low GWP platforms.
- Take a more proactive role in market/channel education on replacements
Council Requests from Our Member Manufacturers
- Continue to support and promote HFC replacements with equipment designs and documentation
- Provide technical updates on HFC replacement applications
- Provide HFC replacement equipment ratings
- To advocate and leverage our collective voice maintaining our place in these discussions.
Finally, the council is working with the HARDI government affairs team to secure a face to face meeting with the EPA for a roundtable discussion with several other stakeholders about the future HFC phase-out. What will be their course of action after the court ruling? We believe the distribution channel should play an important part in how the future of HFC’s is phased out. It is the opinion of the council that distribution along with other stakeholders, refrigerant and equipment manufacturers and industry professionals should be the source of information and answers even if this goes back to Congress to resolve.
If you would like to participate in the refrigeration council in some way as we move forward please feel free to let us know.
Refrigeration Sales Corp.
Chair, HARDI Refrigeration, and Refrigerants Council