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EPA Issues Final Rule Limiting Hydrofluorocarbons Used in Air Conditioners and Refrigerators

EPA Issues Final Rule Limiting Hydrofluorocarbons Used in Air Conditioners and Refrigerators

If you don’t listen to Daddy EPA the agency will punish you for illegal HFC trade.

Leslie is still on vacation, so I guess I’ll grab the EPA finalizing the rule to limit hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are used in air conditioners and refrigerators.

In 2016, Leslie wrote that HFCs are “chemicals comprised of hydrogen, carbon, and fluorine atoms.”

From the press release (emphasis mine):

The United States began this historic phasedown on January 1, 2022, with a reduction of HFC production and imports to 10% below historic baseline levels. Since then, allowances are needed to import and produce HFCs. Starting in 2024 the phasedown will be 40% below historic levels, a significant decrease in the number of available production and consumption allowances compared to previous years. HFC allowances for calendar year 2024 will be allocated by September 29, 2023. The phasedown schedule under this program is consistent with the schedule laid out in the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which the United States ratified in October 2022.

In addition to setting up an allowance allocation program, the HFC Phasedown Program has established robust enforcement mechanisms to ensure a level playing field for U.S. companies complying with the phasedown requirements. Since January 2022, the Interagency Task Force on Illegal HFC Trade, co-led by EPA and the Department of Homeland Security, has prevented illegal HFC shipments equivalent to more than 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO₂) at the border, which is equivalent to the CO2 emissions from over 206,000 homes’ electricity use for one year.

A 2020 rule (yes, passed under Trump) demands an 85% reduction of HFCs by 2036.

If you don’t listen to Daddy EPA, the agency will punish you for illegal HFC trade:

The EPA rule includes a range of administrative penalties, including license revocation and retirement of allowances for companies that don’t comply. Fines and criminal penalties also can be imposed. EPA said it has finalized administrative consequences retiring more than 6.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent for 2022 and 2023 for companies that misreported data or imported HFCs without required allowances.

Since January 2022, an interagency task force on illegal HFC trade, led by EPA and the Department of Homeland Security, has prevented illegal HFC shipments equivalent to more than 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide at the border, officials said. That is the equivalent to carbon emissions from more than 200,000 homes for one year.

The EPA has been targeting HFCs for a while. Leslie brought the war on HFCs to light in 2016: Climate Alarmists Target New “Greenhouse Gas” in Latest Deal

Leslie blogged in 2018 that SCOTUS rejected an appeal to review a DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that limited the EPA. Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote that original ruling.

The ruling overturned the EPA rule on HFC. Kavanaugh claimed the government could not “regulate the gas under the Clean Air Act.”

Leslie noted that environmentalists wanted everyone to use HFCs instead of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) because the latter destroyed the ozone.

But the ozone is healing which means CDCs are okay.

Hence the war on HFCs. Leslie concluded in her piece:

Any agency that wants to deem life-essential carbon dioxide as a “climate pollutant” can no longer be allowed to create legislation out of whole cloth and fake science. This SCOTUS decision is a victory for sensible science and constitutional principles.

But then, in 2020, the Senate compromised on a greenhouse gas amendment that stalled a bipartisan energy bill.

The senators who wanted the amendment? Republican John Kennedy and Democrat Tom Carper: “The compromise amendment, like the initial provision from Carper and Kennedy aims to reduce the use of these gases over a 15-year period. It would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement an 85 percent reduction of HFC production and consumption as compared to the average annual levels from 2011 to 2013.”

Trump’s White House and Republican Sen. John Barrasso criticized the amendment “because it did not include language that would have preempted states from setting their own stricter HFC standards.” They wanted to avoid any “uncertainty for manufacturers.”

Yay government.

And you guys wonder why I cannot stand Democrats or Republicans. They all love Big Government.


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“Final rule”, sure. Congress should just end this rule by bureaucrat.

UnCivilServant | July 12, 2023 at 9:17 am

Lets just go back to the CFCs and dissolve the EPA.

    Or even more fun, shut down their air conditioning totally in the summer and limit the heat in the building to 58 degrees in the winter. And no parking lots. Make them ride the bus and subway to the epa headquarters.
    Make them lead by example. Or in more understandable terms – “Suffer bitches”.

      henrybowman in reply to 4fun. | July 13, 2023 at 1:06 am

      You laugh, but before A/C, the fedguv was practically shut down all summer and unable to do anywhere near the mischief it does today.

What I have heard from the HVAC industry is that the new refrigerants are slightly flammable.

R22 (the original freon ) operated at approx 240 psi on the high side.
R403(?) etc, which was the in use from circa late 1990’s and phased out effective 12.31.2022 for new installations operated at approx 375-400 psi, thus higher risk of leakage.

I am not sure the operating psi of the newer replacement refrigerant, though I suspect it is in the 400 psi range, which will have high leakage potential, thus higher flammability risk.

    UnCivilServant in reply to Joe-dallas. | July 12, 2023 at 9:52 am

    I once heard that in terms of refrigerant efficiency, propane is very good… but has some problems with flammability.

      Joe-dallas in reply to UnCivilServant. | July 12, 2023 at 10:27 am

      I am told that propane is one of the minor (very minor) components in the new refrigerants. Not sure how accurate that is, though that comment came from a reliable source

    JohnSmith100 in reply to Joe-dallas. | July 12, 2023 at 10:59 am

    Yes, some are butane or LPG. In fact LPG makes a great refrigerant. Personally, I think that we could mass produce home sized heating, cooling with power production as an external unit, complete with an evaporation cooling tower. It would produce hot and chilled water to condition to homes. Use of LPG in an external unit would be safer than inside a building.

“EPA Issues Final Rule”

Whoa! As John Wayne said, “That’ll be the day!”

    Edward in reply to Peabody. | July 12, 2023 at 10:59 am

    In furtherance of honesty in government and plain language edicts – they should be named “Temporary Final Interim Rule”.

The Gentle Grizzly | July 12, 2023 at 9:55 am

Let me guess: just like with various Freons, an HFC patent is about to expire.

You can always get cooling by allowing a wide rubber band to contract on your forehead. Expand rubber and it heats, contract it and it cools.

Just go back to using ammonia as the coolant. It’s actually more efficient than most CFCs. The only problem is that it’s toxic, and when it leaks, it kills people. But that’s not what the EPA is concerned about.

not_a_lawyer | July 12, 2023 at 4:10 pm

The administrative state needs to be reined in.

When an anonymous bureaucrat can issue ‘rules’ that affect millions of people, we no longer have a republic.

Back before the civil rights legislation, the Southern legislatures were writing laws that precluded blacks, in effect, from voting. The courts came in and said that the legislatures needed ‘pre-clearance’ before passing new laws with respect to voting.

We need to have ‘pre-clearance’ before the administrative state can impose these new ‘rules’ that affect millions of people and their businesses.

In the intermountain west, there is a great deal of federal property which is under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM is an administrative agency with no lawmaking power. But the BLM administrators are making new ‘rules’ that harm a great number of people and their businesses.

These ‘rules’ issued by the administrative state should be null and void, unless and until the legislature takes them up and passes a law.

The proper course of action is to have the legislature consider laws that the administrative state wants to implement. An alternative is to allow the people to tell the administrative state to go pound sand. The courts should deny any penalty against plaintiffs for violating ‘rules’ that the legislature has not implemented.

The EPA, the BLM. all the other alphabet agencies can go pound sand with regard to their ‘rules’ until the legislature takes up the issue and decides to pass a law, or declines to do so.


Like the idea of putting sails on container ships, look for leftists sitting in their air conditoned offices and mansions to tell the rest of us to use a fan.

That is the equivalent to carbon emissions from more than 200,000 homes for one year.

Never mind significantly increased energy use because of the less efficient refrigerants replacing HFCs, not to mention whatever environmental impacts those new refrigerants have by themselves, since as I understand it they require more frequent replacement.

With the massive invasion on the southern border the amount HFCs needed in the country is increasing heavily. This would not be needed if the southern border was closed like it was when Trump had it. It is clear that Biden’s Admin is adding in any hurtful regulation they can to the American people.

There was a joke at DuPont that every time a DuPont patent on refrigerants ran out, the EPA would force people to use the new patented DuPont refrigerant.

healthguyfsu | July 13, 2023 at 9:11 am

Cfcs did less to perforate the ozone layer than volcanic eruptions.

    not_a_lawyer in reply to healthguyfsu. | July 14, 2023 at 7:21 am

    There have been prehistoric volcanic eruptions that released more ‘ozone’ depleting contaminants than all of human activity combined since the dawn of the industrial age. And there will be another one, about which we can do nothing.


Do you ever get the feeling that the government tries to regulate us to death?