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Greenhouse Gases

New York, California acting to restrict HFCs in absence of EPA regulation

by Cheryl Hogue
September 15, 2018 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 96, Issue 37


While federal requirements for reducing the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) remain in legal limbo, New York and California are moving to restrict these potent greenhouse gases. The two states are adopting policies because a 2015 EPA regulation to ratchet down HFCs, which are used as refrigerants, was struck down by a federal court last year. The Trump administration is not appealing that ruling, though environmentalists are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) on Sept. 10 ordered the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation to issue regulations that adopt the HFC phaseout provisions in the overturned EPA rule. This includes halting the use of HFCs in new consumer products, new equipment such as automobile air conditioners, and retrofitted refrigeration equipment. Meanwhile, the California Legislature passed a bill (S.B. 1013) in late August that would apply EPA’s suspended HFC provisions in the state and create a program to promote adoption of new refrigerants. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has until Sept. 30 to sign, veto, or allow the legislation to become law.


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