Budzinski Urges EPA to Promote the Recovery and Reclamation of Refrigerant Gases

Jun 29, 2023
Economy
Press

WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan urging the agency to promote the recovery and reclamation of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) to bring down refrigerant costs for consumers and reduce harmful emissions. She was joined on the letter by Representatives Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Scott Peters (CA-50), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Doris Matsui (CA-07), Yvette Clarke (NY-09) and Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07). 

“We are pleased the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to issue a proposed rule in the coming months related to refrigerant management. As you develop this proposed rule, we write to urge the EPA to take bold and meaningful action to increase the recovery and reclamation of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs),” wrote the Members.

In the letter, the lawmakers propose that the EPA take actions to require the use of minimum levels of reclaimed refrigerants, require the use of reclaimed refrigerant for servicing state-owned equipment, reforms federal procurement practices to support refrigerant recovery and reclamation, prohibiting the use of virgin HFCs to service existing equipment, require newly installed HFC equipment be factory charged with reclaimed refrigerant, publicly recognize contractors who demonstrate a commitment to refrigerant recovery and work with refrigerant wholesalers to pilot implementation of refrigerant deposit/refund schemes.

Locally, Hudson Technologies maintains a facility in Champaign that supports 95 employees and conducts HFC reclamation activities, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions by preventing the release of HFCs into the atmosphere. The facility also services the Department of Defense with refrigerant and industrial gasses. The policies encouraged by Budzinski and her colleagues would support the facility’s work and the local jobs it sustains. 

The full text of Congresswoman Budzinski’s letter can be found here and below: 

June 29, 2023

The Honorable Michael Regan 

Administrator

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 

1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. 

Washington, DC 20460 

Dear Administrator Regan: 

We are pleased the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to issue a proposed rule in the coming months related to refrigerant management. As you develop this proposed rule, we write to urge the EPA to take bold and meaningful action to increase the recovery and reclamation of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

As you are aware, to ensure a smooth transition to next generation refrigerants, the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act directs the EPA to promote growth in recovery and reclamation. By reusing the refrigerant from the installed base of HFC equipment, we can minimize the need for additional virgin HFC production, ensure refrigerants are properly managed, and minimize releases of HFCs to the atmosphere. 

To promote the recovery and reclaiming of refrigerant gases nationwide, EPA should consider current regulatory programs in California that seek to address this important policy priority for the HVACR industry. This includes requiring the use of minimum levels of reclaimed refrigerants in certain types of new equipment, where feasible and otherwise appropriate, and, eventually, the use of reclaimed refrigerant for servicing state-owned equipment. EPA also should work with the General Services Administration and the White House to reform federal procurement practices to support refrigerant recovery and reclamation. As a first step, the federal government should consider both prohibiting the use of virgin HFCs to service existing equipment and requiring newly installed HFC equipment be factory charged with reclaimed refrigerant. 

We also encourage the EPA to fund pilot programs, focused on testing other strategies to increase refrigerant recovery. For example, the EPA could work with stakeholders in the industry and environmental community to publicly recognize contractors who demonstrate a commitment to refrigerant recovery. The goal would be to create a program, similar to Energy Star, that encourages consumers to select environmentally friendly and responsible contractors. Working with refrigerant wholesalers to pilot implementation of refrigerant deposit/refund schemes is another example. 

Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to working with you on the upcoming refrigerant management rule-making and the steps we can take to increase recovery and reclamation.

Sincerely,

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