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February 20, 2018 -
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A petition for a rehearing of the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to require low-GWP alternatives to hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) was denied on January 26, 2018 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The original ruling, on August 8, 2017, determined that the EPA can not require the replacement of HFCs in HVAC&R equipment or other uses under the SNAP (Significant New Alternatives Policy) program, according to reporting by Michael Garry at Hydrocarbons 21. The ruling overturned a rule implemented by the EPA in 2015. The request for a rehearing was brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Chemours, and Honeywell. The EPA did not participate in the petition to rehear the case. This refusal leaves the HVAC&R industry with a lack of clarity in how to proceed in terms of high-GWP HFCs, says Garry. However, there are other ways to move forward with HFC reductions, barring outright delisting by the EPA. Individual states could move forward with their own regulations. The U.S. Senate could ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. The EPA could choose to use other authorities to phase down HFCs. Or the case could be taken to the Supreme Court, which Honeywell and NRDC have been quoted as considering. This Quick Read was submitted by Naomi Millán, senior editor, Building Operating Management.