CARB and State Senator Lara look to adopting EPA SNAP rules on HFCs that Appeals Court won’t review.
Mary D. Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) reacted to a recent court decision limiting federal oversight over HFCs by saying the state would continue to consider preserving the federal framework for controlling these gases in California.
California State Senator Ricardo Lara also has a plan for California to adopt the federal rules.
On January 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied petitions for a rehearing of its controversial ruling the court delivered in August 2017 that barred the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from delisting HFCs from its list of approved replacements for ozone-depleting refrigerants under the SNAP (Significant New Alternatives Policy) program.
"The recent court decision undermining the current federal program further underlines the importance of state regulation and innovation, even as we continue to seek strong federal controls,” said Nichols, in a statement.
“The California Air Resources Board is moving ahead to control super pollutants, including high global warming potential F-gases like hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and has already developed draft regulations that would preserve the federal framework for controlling these gases in California.”
Following Nichols' statement, California State Senator Ricardo Lara said that his proposed California Cooling Act, which he intends to introduce this year will "preserve federal rules under state law and keep California in the lead on clean air."
Added Lara: "This federal court decision on super-polluting refrigerants is the latest sign that California cannot look to the federal government for help in reaching our clean air goals." Lara authored the Super Pollutant Act SB1383, which set the nation's toughest standards for reducing HFC emissions 40% by 2030.
On October 24, 2017, CARB held a public workshop as the first step towards adopting some of the EPA’s SNAP rules on HFC delistings.
“The recent court decision undermining the current federal program further underlines the importance of state regulation and innovation, even as we continue to seek strong federal controls.”
– Mary Nichols, CARB
In her statement, Nichols said that in March, CARB will hear “California's version of the federal program, including possible adoption of some of the federal Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) provisions into state regulation.” She added that CARB plans to consider further control “of these dangerous gases” with an additional regulation at a later date. Meanwhile, she said, “U.S. EPA should move quickly to explore its options to provide similar protections at the federal level, to the greatest degree possible.”
CARB is looking specifically at EPA SNAP Rules 20 and 21 that prohibit specific high-GWP HFCs in new retail food refrigeration, food dispensing equipment, air-conditioning chillers, and refrigerated vending machines.
Additional sectors covered by SNAP Rules 20 and 21, such as residential refrigerator-freezers, motor vehicle air-conditioning, insulating foam, and aerosol propellants, would not be addressed in these regulations, and could be addressed separately.