U.S. EPA Bans Hydrofluorocarbons in Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, and Heating Products

On October 5, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule restricting the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in new aerosol, foam, and refrigeration, air conditioning, and heat pump (RACHP) products and equipment. The rulemaking is part of the phasedown of HFCs under the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020. The final rule also establishes a process to submit technology transition petitions to restrict the use of HFCs in industry sectors in which they are used.

In addition to restricting the use of HFCs in the sectors listed above, the rule prohibits the manufacture and import of products with high global warming potential (GWP) in the RACHP, foam, and aerosol sectors. The rule further prohibits the sale, distribution, and export of those products three years after of the manufacture and import restriction. Finally, the rule prohibits the installation of new RACHP systems with high GWP HFCs. These restrictions have varying compliance dates based on sector, with the earliest restrictions starting January 1, 2025, and the latest restrictions starting January 1, 2028.

The rule does not restrict the use of existing products, but EPA has authority to impose additional restrictions on HFCs, either in rulemaking or in response to petitions from companies, industry associations, environmental groups, and state governments. This final rule is the result of petitions that were granted in 2021 and 2022, so interested stakeholders should watch for petitions that could result in further EPA rulemaking.

This post is as of the posting date stated above. Sidley Austin LLP assumes no duty to update this post or post about any subsequent developments having a bearing on this post.