On Tuesday, October 28, 2014, the US EPA published its final rule that adjusts the allowance system for the consumption and production of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) for years 2015 to 2019.  The rule was promulgated pursuant to the Clean Air Act, certain sections of which ensure that the United States meets its obligations under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Protocol).  Under the Protocol and its amendments, all developed countries are subject to caps on their consumption and production of HCFCs.  These countries must achieve a certain percentage of progress towards the total phaseout of production and consumption of HCFCs by certain dates.

Under yesterday's rule, the US EPA issued allowances for four HCFCs and implemented a de minimis exemption for use of existing inventory of HCFC-225ca/cb and HCFC-124.  Allowances for each of the four HCFCs are as follows:

  • HCFC-22.  For consumption, the US EPA allocated about 10,000 MT in 2015 with an annual decrease of about 2,000 MT per year until its phase-out in 2020. For production, EPA allocated about 28,000 MT each year.  Under existing regulations, HCFC-22 production and consumption are zero in 2020.
  • HCFC-123.  For consumption, EPA allocated about 2,000 MT per year through 2019.  EPA also allowed for continued use of HCFC-123 in nonresidential streaming fire suppression applications.
  • HCFC-124.  For consumption and production, EPA allocated 200 MT per year through 2019.
  • HCFC-142b.  For consumption an production, EPA allocated 35 MT in 2015 with an annual decrease of 5 MT per year.  Under existing regulations, HCFC-142b allowances for production and consumption are zero in 2020.

For HCFC-225ca/cb, the US EPA allocated zero percent of the baseline for production and consumption.  However, the US EPA finalized a de minimis exemption to allow any person with HCFC-225ca/cb in inventory prior to January 1, 2015, to use that material as a solvent.  The US EPA also finalized a de minimis exemption to allow any person with HCFC-124 in inventory prior to January 1, 2015, to use that material as a sterilant for biological indicators.

The rule becomes effective on January 1, 2015.  The full rule can be found here.