EPA to decide this year whether to accelerate the phaseout of the R-22 Refrigerant situation
Under Title VI of the Clean Air Act, the EPA has called for the gradual phaseout of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC). Under the Act, there is a proposed schedule reducing production allowances of HCFC-22 (R-22) gradually over the next 10 years or so. In January of this year, the EPA sent out a proposal to accelerate the phase out starting this year, which has caused much uncertainty in the R-22 marketplace and rumors of supply issues. The EPA said that the proposed adjustment was due to a lawsuit filed by two HCFC producers over unrecognized legal trades of allocations and the fact that an industry review by the EPA showed that there had been an oversupply of R-22 last year due to decreased demand and wholesale prices and an increase of the reuse of R-22. The EPA also explained that the trade organization representing the producers stated that a 20% reduction in allocations was acceptable.
The EPA is considering two options. The first option is to leave the allowances the same as per the phaseout schedule, but the second option is to decrease the total production allocation by between 11 and 47 percent each year. The EPA has asked for input from the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy and others in the industry and they anticipate a final determination later this year. In the meantime, they are allowing production of R-22; but at a lower level, 45% of their last allocation amount.
Here at Cii, we closely monitor the actions of the EPA and have planned for the gradual phaseout of R-22. We continually research and investigate alternative refrigerants and their impact on existing equipment. We will stay updated on this situation and be ready for any changes in the marketplace.
What can our customers do? We encourage our customers to contact us with any concerns. We strongly suggest regular maintenance visits from our technicians to monitor and fix any leaks and talk to us about purchasing newer more energy efficient equipment.