In the latest example of a U.S. state incorporating HFC regulations previously used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Vermont’s legislature last week passed legislation limiting the use of HFCs in new equipment.
The legislation, S.30, stipulates that products containing certain high-GWP HFCs prohibited by the EPA in SNAP (Significant New Alternatives Policy) Rules 20 and 21 would not be allowed in Vermont in new equipment for specific applications as of specific dates. A 2017 Court of Appeals ruling partially vacated the SNAP rules.
For example, as of January 1, 2021, these refrigerants would be prohibited in Vermont for refrigerated food processing and dispensing equipment, remote condensing units, stand-alone units, among other applications. As of January 1, 2023, the refrigerants are banned for cold storage warehouses.
In addition, the legislation requires the Vermont Secretary of Natural Resources to file proposed rules by July 1, 2020, “to establish a schedule to phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons to meet the goal of a 40 percent reduction from the 2013 level of use by 2030.”
State leadership is keeping our country’s HFC transition on the rails, and is keeping the U.S. in sync with the global phase-down now underway under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.”
– David Doniger, NRDC
The Vermont legislation, which takes effect on July 1, 2019, is based on laws passed in California and Washington state. Other states, including New York, Maryland and Connecticut are developing HFC regulations under existing laws that will also emulate the regulations enacted in California and Washington. In addition, other states in the U.S. Climate Alliance, a group of 24 state governors, are expected to follow suit.
The California Cooling Act, passed last September, not only adopts EPA HFC rules but also establishes an incentive program to support adoption of natural refrigeration equipment.
“State leadership is keeping our country’s HFC transition on the rails, and is keeping the U.S. in sync with the global phase-down now underway under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the treaty that saved the ozone layer” said David Doniger, senior strategic director, Climate & Clean Energy Program, for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), in his blog. “It’s is time for other states to climb aboard the HFC train.”