EPA Grants IIAR’s Petition for Increased Hydrofluorocarbon Restrictions

The Environmental Protection Agency has granted a petition from the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration and its industry partners to use the agency’s authority under the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act to restrict the use of hydrofluorocarbons within the refrigeration sector.

“This is a significant opportunity for IIAR to take a leadership role and it is very encouraging that EPA has granted IIAR’s petition,” said Lowell Randel, director of government affairs for IIAR. “It places the organization in a very good position to play that lead role in working with other stakeholders and the EPA to shape the ultimate policy.”

he EPA to shape the ultimate policy.” EPA will now have two years to propose and finalize rulemakings addressing this and other petitions and expects the forthcoming rules will provide a clear regulatory landscape that will help the transition to more climate-friendly alternatives, the agency said.

The AIM Act directs EPA to address hydrofluorocarbons by phasing down production and consumption, maximizing reclamation and minimizing releases from equipment and facilitating the
transition to next-generation technologies through sector-based restrictions. The agency’s first proposed rulemaking under the AIM Act would set the HFC production and consumption baseline
levels from which reductions will be made, establish an initial methodology for allocating HFC allowances for 2022 and 2023, and create a robust, agile, and innovative compliance and enforcement system, the agency said.

IIAR’s petition, which was sent to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, requested that the EPA limit the use of refrigerants of 150 or greater GWP in the refrigeration sector in general (both
commercial and industrial). The petition identifies several areas, including food retail, cold storage warehouses, and manufacturing, where these limits could be set in place. IIAR was joined by copetitioners, the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association, and the Ammonia Safety & Training Institute.

In the petition, Gary Schrift, IIAR’s president, said the association believes that California’s framework for HFC phase-down can serve as a good model for EPA’s implementation of the AIM Act. However, IIAR petitions to go further regarding Chillers for Industrial Refrigeration. “Subsection (i) of the AIM Act on ‘Technology Transitions’ authorizes EPA to ‘restrict, fully, partially or on a graduated schedule, the use of a regulated substance in the sector or subsector in which the regulated substance is used,’” according to the petition.

In a letter to Schrift granting the petition, Regan said, “The EPA intends to move swiftly to develop a proposal and will continue to engage with stakeholders as we proceed. However, please note
that a petition grant does not mean that the agency will propose or finalize requirements identical to those in your petition.”

IIAR is continuing to work with other groups who submitted petitions to find common ground and consensus moving forward, Randel said.

Regan said that granting IIAR’s petition along with others submitted was “another step forward in advancing President Biden’s commitment to tackle the climate crisis, as we work to phase
down and restrict the use of superpolluting HFCs as Congress directed. In less than a year, EPA has already begun implementing the AIM Act to build a strong foundation, moving the United
States away from these climate-damaging chemicals.”

Regan said the agency looked forward to working with IIAR and all stakeholders in the next steps of the process.

As part of its petition, IIAR wrote that the technology has existed for decades in the design and manufacturing of chillers for industrial process refrigeration using natural refrigerants for
all temperature ranges. The association told EPA the use of natural refrigerants including CO2 , ammonia, and hydrocarbons will significantly and positively impact global warming reduction
goals using refrigerants with ultra-low refrigerant GWP values and increased operational energy efficiency of these refrigeration systems.

IIAR recommended that the chillers for industrial process refrigeration restriction take effect on Jan. 1, 2026, to provide manufacturers, contractors, and owners the time to meet the needs created by this excellent single-step approach.