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EPA Excludes MVAC Fluid Recovery from Final Ruling on Hydrofluorocarbons

Yesterday, the EPA released its final rulemaking on the Phasedown of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs): Management of Certain Hydrofluorocarbons and Substitutes under Section (h) of the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020. Notably for automotive repairers, the regulation excludes any mention of the recovery/recycling/reclamation of MVAC (motor vehicle air conditioner) refrigerant fluids.

The preamble to the final ruling explicitly states:

“…even though the [American Innovation and Manufacturing] Act grants EPA broad authority to achieve a full transition from regulated substances in a sector or subsector, there are many actions not included within the scope of the restrictions covered by this final rule, including actions associated with steps in the disposal chain such as recovery, recycling, and reclamation of a regulated substance…” (Page 67).

However, regulatory proposals from recovering/recycling/reclaiming MVAC refrigerants could come in the future. The preamble acknowledges that:

“EPA is developing proposed regulations under the authority of subsection (h) of the AIM Act. Subsection (h)(1) of the Act, ‘[f]or purposes of maximizing reclaiming and minimizing the release of a regulated substance from equipment and ensuring the safety of technicians and customers, the Administrator shall promulgate regulations to control, where appropriate, any practice, process, or activity regarding the servicing, repair, disposal, or installation of equipment…that involved: (A) a regulated substance; (B) a substitute for a regulated substance; (C) the reclaiming of a regulated substance used as a refrigerant; or (D) the reclaiming of a substitute for a regulated substance used as a refrigerant.’ Such regulations, if finalized, could increase the level of reclamation in the future.” (Page 151).

ASA will continue monitoring and responding to these regulatory developments.