Thursday, June 28, 2018

NJ joins suit to prevent EPA flip-flop on refrigerant

Federal agency loosens its own limits on hydrofluorocarbons, compounds used in refrigeration, air conditioning, insulation, aerosols, and other processes

Tom Johnson reports for NJ Spotlight:

New Jersey is joining other states in trying to block the Environmental Protection Agency from easing rules that limited the use of a potent industrial chemical contributing to climate change.
The lawsuit is the latest in a series of actions filed by the state against the Trump administration’s efforts to weaken environmental regulations aiming to address climate change.
Filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the petition seeks to invalidate a recently issued guidance document that effectively suspends the agency’s own three-year-old ban on use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in manufacturing.
“As we saw during superstorm Sandy, the symptoms of climate change — like extreme weather, rising seas, and coastal erosion — can put our state at grave risk,’’ said New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.
Climate change is the greatest environmental threat to the state and the planet, Grewal said. “Washington should be placing stricter rules on greenhouse gases, not weakening them,’’ he said.
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe noted the state has been aggressive in trying to reduce greenhouse emissions from power plants, industrial facilities, and vehicles.
“This backdoor attempt to change the rules will undermine our efforts and place at risk those actions that are necessary in other states to address global warming and sea-level rise,’’ McCabe said.
HFCs are compounds used in refrigeration, air conditioning, insulation, aerosols, and other processes. The agency moved to limit their use a few years ago when new alternatives were developed with far less climate impact than HFCs.

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