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US Kigali alignment among key priorities for incoming AHRI chair

Bill Steel has said organisation will continue under his tenure to push for the US to meet its global emissions obligations, while also looking at replacement for dropped SNAP rule

The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) is committed to ensuring the US commits to meeting its obligations set out under the Kigali Amendment, while also looking at a replacement for the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) refrigerant rule dropped last year.

SNAP, which seeks to restrict emissions of ozone depleting substances and replace them with safer alternatives, was amended under the presidency of Barack Obama to try and reduce emissions of HFCs in refrigerant.

However, a ruling by the Environmental Protection Agency that deemed HFC use as “unacceptable” under SNAP was reversed last year by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. This decision has more recently been upheld by the US Supreme court creating uncertainty over HFC policy in the US.

Bill Steel, the AHRI’s new chairman, told RAC Magazine that ensuring a national approach is in place to curb a reliance on using higher GWP HFC gas for the purposes of cooling were among the institute’s key priorities as he takes up leadership of the group.

Mr Steel, who also serves as the president and chief executive of Bard Manufacturing Company, said the AHRI would focus on ensuring that the US cooling industry worked to a global phase down schedule with regard to refrigerant as defined in the Kigali Amendment.

He said that the AHRI was already working with Senate members and the Trump administration to play up the merits of complying with the Kigali Amendment.

Mr Steel added that a number of states including Connecticut, Maryland, New York and California had separately adopted their own legislation that ratifies commitments to drop HFCs that were included in SNAP.

He said, “Without a timely ratification of the Kigali Amendment, harmonisation at the state regulation level is a must for our manufacturers.”

“At the same time, AHRI is also in the early stages of working with the EPA on a replacement SNAP rule, so we are addressing our industry’s HFC regulatory concerns on several different levels.”

Mr Steel also set out wider work to reinvent the AHRI over the next six to twelve months that will focus on creating a more effective and inclusive organisation that will also continue to defining new forms of standards and certification.

He added, “I see my primary role as integrating the implementation of the plan our ‘reinvention’ task force has developed with the tweaks proposed by our membership during the transition process.”

“I also need to make sure we remain focused on several policy priorities during this process, which includes submittal and ratification of the Kigali Amendment, EPCA reform and seeing tax reform language to the finish line.”

Part of the AHRI’s reinvention strategy will also look at reshaping its executive leadership groups to be more strategic and proactive in the tasks they undertake, according to Mr Steel.

He said these changes would be implemented in place of traditional committee models, while aiming to encourage more businesses leader involvement in the organisation’s work.

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