“To create thousands of jobs, save billions of dollars and safeguard the environment, we must invest in alternatives to HFCs. I’m thankful that Chairman Barrasso and Sen. Carper are championing this plan to bring American manufacturing into the future—a plan that both business and environmental groups support.”
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Tom Carper (D-Del.), the committee’s ranking member, in announcing a bipartisan agreement on changes to a hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) amendment to the American Energy Innovation Act.
“American jobs are on the line, and we can protect them by keeping the United States competitive in global industry. To create thousands of jobs, save billions of dollars and safeguard the environment, we must invest in alternatives to HFCs. I’m thankful that Chairman Barrasso and Sen. Carper are championing this plan to bring American manufacturing into the future—a plan that both business and environmental groups support,” said Kennedy.
“This agreement protects both American consumers and American businesses. We can have clean air without damaging our economy. These chemicals are in every home—from our refrigerators, to our cars, to our air conditioners. I insisted on changing this legislation so costs don’t skyrocket for American families. This agreement safeguards the critical uses of these chemicals when substitute chemicals do not work—including in bear spray that protects hikers and fire suppression systems on planes that protect travelers. Now, this legislation will help protect our air while keeping costs down for the American people. I want to thank Senators Kennedy and Carper for working with me and I look forward advancing the legislation in the Senate,” said Barrasso.
“With this agreement, we now have a clear path in Congress to enact and implement a nationwide phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons, known as HFCs. HFCs are the coolants and refrigerants that keep our homes cool and our groceries cold in the fridge. They can be found in almost every household in America—but they have a global warming effect thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. Fortunately, with the ingenuity and innovation of American industry, the next generation of climate-friendly HFC replacements are already being made in this country and sold throughout the world. It’s time we build on those investments and phase down these potent greenhouse gases out of our economy. With this bipartisan agreement, we can and we will. This amendment would spur billions of dollars of economic growth in domestic manufacturing and create tens of thousands of new jobs, all while helping our planet avoid half a degree Celsius in global warming. At a time when we could all use some good news, this is great news for our economy and our planet. Let’s get it done,” said Carper.
Kennedy and Carper offered the original HFCs amendment in March of this year. The amendment parallels the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act, a bipartisan effort that brings together the manufacturing industry and environmental groups to preserve jobs in Louisiana and the rest of the nation.
The HFC industry employs 593,000 workers in the U.S. and generates annual sales of $206 billion. Globally, countries are moving away from using HFCs. The amendment will ensure that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority to ensure a smooth phasedown of the manufacturing of HFCs in the U.S. in order to support the next generation of technologies.
The evolution of technology impacts the Honeywell plant in Geismar, La. and Mexichem Fluor Inc. in St. Gabriel, La. This amendment will help preserve jobs at these plants.
The revised amendment will authorize a 15-year phasedown of HFCs at a national level for the first time, administered by the EPA. The amendment requires the EPA to implement an 85 percent phase down of the production and consumption of HFCs, so they reach approximately 15 percent of their 2011-2013 average annual levels by 2036. Under the agreement, the revised amendment will also:
- Protect essential uses of HFCs, including ensuring there are sufficient supplies of HFCs for congressionally-designated essential uses of HFCs that currently have no substitute chemicals, including defense sprays, medical inhalers, semiconductor manufacturing, and mission-critical military uses;
- Preempt state and local governments from regulating HFCs for the congressionally-designated essential uses for at least five years (which can be extended to 10 if there remains no substitute chemical for a particular use); and
- Provide protection for consumers from cost increases by ensuring the EPA cannot accelerate the 15-year regulatory timeline faster than the HFC-consumption levels that the market is already achieving.