The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to modify its proposed rule governing the sale of equipment pre-charged with HCFC-based refrigerants (R-22, R-142b, and their blends).
testimony before the EPA, AHRI Vice President of Regulatory Policy and ResearchKarim Amranestated that the proposed rule "goes well
beyond its original intent," which was to close a loophole on imported
products containing HCFCs, to match the ban on domestic manufacturing of
products that use virgin R-22 or R-142b beginning January 1, 2010.
the proposed rule would close this loophole, it also would introduce new
problems that could have a devastating effect on U.S. manufacturers. The
proposed rule contains an unconventional definition for the "date of
manufacture" - one that shifts the meaning from the date the equipment
leaves the factory to the date it is installed. Left unchanged, this
definition would ultimately accelerate the phaseout timeline by six to 12
months because manufacturers would likely immediately stop producing condensing
units charged with virgin HCFC refrigerants.
said that industry will manufacture an estimated 2 million HCFC condensing
units in 2009, and if they were unable by law to be sold, stranded inventory
costs could be well in excess of $500 million, "enough to bankrupt several
manufacturers and suppliers," he said.
behalf of AHRI, Amrane also forcefully objected to a provision in the proposed
rule that would prevent U.S.-based manufacturers of HCFC-charged equipment from
exporting it to Article 5 countries where, he said, "it is perfectly
legal" to use those refrigerants. Keeping that provision intact would
disadvantage and penalize U.S. manufacturers because their foreign competitors
would face no such ban in those nations. The net effect, said Amrane,
would be "the export of U.S. manufacturing jobs."
Amrane called on the EPA to modify the rule to exempt pre-charged appliance
components, such as thermostatic expansion valves (TXVs), from the refrigerant
ban. Failure to do so, he said, would prevent consumers from obtaining needed
replacement parts for the installed-base of HCFC equipment.
solution, according to Amrane, would be for the EPA to modify the rule to use a
more conventional definition of the term "manufacture" to mean
"when the product leaves the manufacturer's final assembly process, is
packaged for shipment, and placed into initial inventory;" and to exempt
products intended solely for export and pre-charged components from the rule.