On September 10, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he was directing the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to enact legislation to phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of refrigerants that are also potent greenhouse gases (GHGs), by at least 20% by the year 2030. This reduction is meant to assist with meeting the Governor's goal of a 40% reduction in annual greenhouse emissions compared to baseline numbers by 2030. New York is urging other states to commit to phasing out HFCs as well. In addition to this directive, New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with 11 other Attorneys General as a result of EPA seeking to roll back rules issued by EPA in 2015 prohibiting the use of HFCs in certain applications.
The state actions are in response to the recent vacatur of Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program rules and the EPA's response to the court decision. As with many key US environmental rules, states generally have the authority to impose stricter emission regulations than federal regulations.
As announced, the New York regulations would effectively adopt SNAP Rules 20 and 21, which would prohibit specific refrigerant use in new equipment and equipment that is retrofitted after the compliance dates including aerosol propellants, commercial air-conditioning equipment, and foam-blowing agents, among others. The phase out is intended to be implemented from 2020-2024. The NYSDEC will be seeking input on this proposal prior to proceeding with a formal rulemaking with the intent of finalizing a rule in 2019.
Trinity Consultants, Inc. has been closely following the revision of EPA's refrigerant management regulations, SNAP decisions and assisting clients across the country with refrigerant management compliance programs. Additionally, Trinity holds several training courses on refrigerant compliance requirements throughout the year. Find out more about the recent regulatory changes on our website.
If you have any questions about these announced rule changes or wonder how they may affect your facility, please contact Brian Noel, Manager of Consulting Services in Trinity's Albany office at (518) 205-9000 x1620 or Chris Whitehead, BD Supervisor Northeast at (609) 318-5500 x1757 for more information.