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The 2010 HCFC Regulations

In December 2009, EPA published two rules that together restrict the availability and use of HCFCs (including R-22) in 2010. One rule allocates allowances for the production and import of HCFCs. The other rule bans the sale or distribution (including import and export) of pre-charged air-conditioning and refrigeration products and components containing HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b.

2010 HCFC Allocation Rule

The first rule sets HCFC production and import limits for the period 2010-2014 in order to meet the 2010 phasedown caps under the Montreal Protocol. Over the 5 control periods (each calendar year is a control period), this rule allocates HCFC allowances totaling 12,355 ozone-depleting potential (ODP)-weighted metric tons for consumption and 11,621 ODP tons for production.

This rule issues fewer HCFC-22 allocations each year between 2010-2014. This decrease reflects the declining demand projected for HCFC-22. Existing regulations allow production and import of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b after January 1, 2010, only to service equipment manufactured before January 1, 2010, i.e. existing equipment. EPA is also issuing consumption and production allowances for HCFC-123, HCFC-124, HCFC-225ca, and HCFC-225cb. In addition, the allocation rule amends the regulatory provisions concerning allowances for HCFC production for developing countries’ basic domestic needs. Finally, the rule includes a restriction on HCFC use, as detailed below.

EPA issues allowances to specific companies, and continues to provide flexibility by allowing EPA-approved trades of allowances between HCFCs and between companies.

Pre-Charged Appliances Rule

The second rule complements the 2010 HCFC Allocation rule. The Pre-Charged Appliances rule bans the sale or distribution of pre-charged air-conditioning and refrigeration products and components containing HCFC-22, HCFC-142b, or blends containing one or both of these substances, beginning January 1, 2010. The ban applies to appliances and components manufactured on or after January 1, 2010, but not to appliances or components manufactured before that date. While the 2010 Allocation Rule, along with existing requirements at 40 CFR 82.16(c), has the effect of prohibiting U.S. manufacturers from charging newly-manufactured appliances with virgin HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b beginning January 1, 2010, the Pre-Charged Appliances rule affects the sale and distribution of products that are charged with HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b before entering the United States.

Regulating the sale of pre-charged appliances is warranted. On average, about 9.5 million pre-charged air-conditioning and refrigeration appliances (such as window air-conditioners, upright freezers, and refrigerators) were imported into the United States each year between 2006 and 2008. Considered together with pre-charged appliances that were manufactured domestically, they represent a concern for ozone layer recovery.

The Pre-Charged Appliances rule applies the same restrictions for appliances to pre-charged components, such as line-sets and pre-charged condensing units. When sold charged with refrigerants, these components present the same concerns as the pre-charged appliances.

How Would the Rules Work Together?

The two rules contain some important terms that affect their applicability.

Starting January 1, 2010, the two rules will have the following effects on the sale, distribution, and installation of air-conditioning and refrigeration products charged with HCFC-22, HCFC-142b, or blends containing one or both of these substances:

What Are the Alternatives to HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b?

The Significant New Alternatives Policy program has identified a number of alternatives by industrial sector and end use.

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