EPA Rolls Back Rule on Climate Super-Pollutants

On February 26, 2020 EPA finalized a rule that relaxes the requirements that owners and operators of refrigeration equipment have leak detection and maintenance programs for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). HFCs are a set of chemicals often referred to as "climate super-pollutants" because they are powerful greenhouse gases. They are typically used in cooling and replaced earlier refrigerants that damaged the ozone layer.

EPA's action rescinds a 2016 regulation extending certain refrigerant management regulations to substitute refrigerants such as HFCs. Under the new rule, appliances with 50 or more pounds of substitute refrigerants will no longer be subject to requirements for leak inspection and reporting, retrofitting or retiring appliances that are not repaired, or maintaining related records.

In 2019 an amendment to the Montreal Protocol--a 1987 treaty enacted to reduce ozone-depleting chemicals--went into force to require the phase-out of HFCs by 2030. The Trump Administration has not sent the measure to the Senate for ratification.