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EPA clamps down on HFC imports

USA: The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced several enforcement actions, including settlements totalling over $900,000, in support of its efforts to reduce the use of HFC refrigerants. 

These landmark civil penalty actions include three landmark settlements with HFC importers who failed to report their imported quantities in violation of the Clean Air Act’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Programme. Artsen Chemical America agreed a settlement of $247,601, Harp USA agreed a $275,000 penalty and the IGas Companies a $382,473 penalty. 

The EPA says it is aggressively pursuing similar actions against several other importers that failed to report their HFCs.

The first notices of violation (NOVs) under the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020 (AIM Act) have also been issued by the EPA to alleged violators who imported regulated substances without required allowances. 

Under the AIM Act, importers are required to expend allowances to import HFCs as part of the USA’s HFC phase down programme.

“These NOVs demonstrate EPA’s commitment to enforcing the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020,” said Larry Starfield, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “In addition, our Greenhouse Gas Reporting Programme settlements with HFC importers recognise that accurate data is essential for setting sound climate change policy.”

The federal interagency task force set up to stop illegal HFC imports prevented illegal HFC imports equal to more than 889,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2022. 

The United States agreed under the bipartisan AIM Act to phasedown HFC production and consumption by 85% by 2036, consistent with the international HFC phasedown laid out in the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. 

Related stories:

US takes AIM at illegal refrigerant shipments16 March 2022
USA: US authorities claim to have prevented illegal HFC refrigerant shipments equivalent to approximately 530,000MTCO2e since January 1, when its cap and phase down rules came into effect. Read more…

US finalises HFC phase down plans – 23 September 2021
USA: The Biden administration has today announced that the Environmental Protection Agency will release a new rule to phase down HFCs by 85% within the next 15 years. Read more…

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