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Honeywell turns to Supreme Court to defend EPA HFC ruling

Manufacturer vows to push for a broader judicial review of appeals court decision last year to reverse EPA ruling declaring HFC use as ‘unacceptable’.

Honeywell has said it is turning to the US Supreme Court to push for a judicial review of a ruling last year that reversed an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stance to brand use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as ‘unacceptable’.

The manufacturer has expressed disappointment that the US Federal Appeals Court had refused to order an en banc review of an earlier DC Circuit Court of Appeals decision made by three judges that the EPA must revise its ruling from 2015.

This review would have seen a broader number of judges deliberating on the appeals court decision to reverse the EPA’s position on requiring HFCs to be replaced with lower-GWP alternatives such as HFOs and natural refrigerants.

In August, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favour of refrigerant manufacturers Arkema and Mexichem that the EPA did not have the authority to regulate suitable replacements under Section 612 of the Clean Air Act.

As neither manufacturer had suitable substitutes commercially available to the HFCs, they argued the EPA’s original ruling was unfair to their business.

Honeywell has vowed to continue to appeal for a review of the August judgement in a move that could have a significant impact on how the US cooling industry moves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The company said in a statement: “We believe the court missed an opportunity to reverse its initial decision, which ignored the original intent of the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to replace ozone-depleting substances with safer alternatives.”

“We will appeal to the Supreme Court to ensure that American companies continue to innovate, manufacture and commercialize next-generation technologies that are better for human health and the environment.”

The company argued that there was a wider industry shift away from use HFCs for cooling in favour of alternatives such as HFOs that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It argued that this was already being seen in the market for refrigerant, aerosols and blowing agents regardless of recent court decisions.

Honeywell cited California’s implementation of a programme intended to cut HFC emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 as an example of this shift. The company noted that state had commenced phase out requirements for applications covered by the EPA’s SNAP programme.

Honeywall claimed, “Eleven states that filed their support with the court for the continuation of the SNAP programme have stated that they are seeking solutions to ensure that the transition to technologies that are safer for human health and the environment continues.”

“These solutions are manufactured in the United States and are being adopted worldwide for use in refrigeration, commercial and residential air conditioners, foam insulation, automobiles, supermarket systems, and other merchandise. Honeywell is among a strong and growing coalition of industry, academia and states that will actively participate in all efforts to ensure that HFC phasedown continues in the United States and across the world.”


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