Refrigerant Updates: Anti-Dumping, New SNAP Rules, & AIM Act Comments

BY Alex Ayers
4/20/2020 - HVAC Government Affairs

Last week brought about several updates regarding current and future refrigerants. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals added complexity to the future of SNAP Rules 20 and 21. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee accepted written comments on the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act. And the U.S. Department of Commerce released a ruling to enforce anti-dumping duties on several refrigerants including R-410a and its components.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined the EPA exceeded its authority in removing all of SNAP Rules 20 and 21. Earlier cases determined the EPA could not force companies or individuals who have already moved away from ozone depleting refrigerants to also move away from HFCs under current law. The EPA then remanded both SNAP 20 and 21 rules. This latest decision will require the EPA to bring back SNAP Rules 20 and 21 and allow for public comment. The EPA was already working on an update to SNAP Rules 20 and 21 which would require certain end-uses to skip HFCs when they transition away from ozone depleting refrigerants. More information on the original SNAP 20 and 21 end uses can be found here.

Due to COVID-19, Congress has been on extended recess and avoiding in-person meetings including a previously scheduled hearing on the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM Act). To make up for this cancelled hearing, the committee accepted written comments from the public about the bill. More than 100 groups submitted testimony including the entire HVACR supply chain. More than 2/3rds of the comments were in support of the bill while many of the opposition comments were seeking exemptions from the phase-down to protect specific products outside the HVACR space including foams used in marine and aerospace applications, and protective sprays such as pepper or bear spray. HARDI’s comments are available here.

After a lengthy investigation, the Department of Commerce determined that some importers of refrigerants were bypassing anti-dumping duties by multiple means to put cheaper product on the American market. Specifically, Chinese exporters were accused of moving product through India, adding components and then exporting refrigerants (R-404A, R-407A, R-407C, R-410A, R-507A) to the US to avoid anti-dumping duties. In addition, the department also determined there was circumvention of anti-dumping duties by importing components (R-32, R-125, R-143a) from China that were then processed in the US to create refrigerants. The announcement by the Department of Commerce is available here.