Cuomo Calls On State To Phase Out Use Of Hydrofluorocarbons

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has directed the state Department of Environmental Conservation to develop regulations to phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons.

The regulations would adopt the 2015 and 2016 changes to the Significant New Alternatives Policy developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Those regulations are being changed by the Trump administration.

“We are taking action to begin the phase out of the use of hydrofluorocarbons, and I encourage other states to join with New York and California to combat dangerous HFCs. In New York we believe denial is not a life strategy, and we will continue to fight climate change to protect our economy, our planet and our future,” Cuomo said.

The state regulations would prohibit specific substances for use in new consumer products, new equipment and equipment that is retrofit after the compliance dates, including aerosol propellants, commercial and residential food refrigeration equipment, commercial air-conditioning equipment, light-duty vehicle air-conditioning and foam-blowing agents.

The phase out, which would be implemented from 2020 to 2024 and is expected to reduce HFC emissions by more than 20 percent of projected levels by 2030. The DEC will be seeking input on this proposal prior to proceeding with a formal rulemaking, with the intent of finalizing a rule in 2019.

New York will join California and Canada in requiring the phase-out HFCs. State funding is available to accelerate the reduction of the use of HFCs more quickly. The Environmental Protection Fund includes nearly $9 million through the Climate Smart Communities program for adaption and greenhouse gas mitigation projects, including grants for municipalities to reduce refrigerant leakage, replace or retrofit refrigeration, chillers or air-conditioning equipment (e.g., food-storage or ice-rink equipment) with low global-warming-potential refrigerants; install refrigerant leakage monitoring equipment; establish monitoring and repair plans; establish enhanced disposal programs to recover and recycle refrigerants; and adopt codes or standards to encourage the use of alternative refrigerants. An additional $1 million from the EPF will be available for other projects to address HFCs and other short-lived climate pollutants.