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Green Group Sues EPA Over HFC Leak Law Rollback

May 14, 2020
Suit seeks a review of EPA's March 2020 decision.

The Natural Resources Defense Council sued the Environmental Protection Agency on May11, for recently eliminating leak prevention and repair requirements for hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants (HFCs). 

(Background: On February 26, 2020, EPA Administrator Andrew R. Wheeler signed the final rule Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Revisions to the Refrigerant Management Program’s Extension to Substitutes. In so doing, he rescinded the EPA's November 18, 2016, extension of the leak repair provisions to appliances using substitute refrigerants, such has hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The leak repair requirements and associated record keeping and reporting provisions prescribed in EPA’s November 2016 rulemaking for appliances containing substitutes no longer apply, an leak repair provisions only apply to ozone-depleting refrigerants. Examples of HFC refrigerants are R-407A and R-407C.)

The NRDC's May 11 lawsuit, filed in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, seeks a review of EPA's decision for leak detection and repair in refrigeration systems charged with HFC refrigerants. HFC refrigerants have been used since the 1990s to replace ozone-depleting substances, but have a high global warming potential due to their capacity to trap heat in the atmosphere. 

David Doniger, senior strategic director in the Climate & Clean Energy Program at NRDC, said the rollback is shortsighted, and favors "the Trump EPA, in its unrelenting drive to put polluters ahead of people.

"The EPA would rather allow these easily prevented HFC emissions equal to carbon pollution from 625,000 cars hit the atmosphere every year, than require technicians take reasonable steps to find and fix leaks. That's wrong-headed and wasteful, even more so because it will save industry so little money but cost us so much in harm."

CLICK HERE to view the NRDC lawsuit.

CLICK HERE for revised Sec. 608 regulations.