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EPA cracks down on illegal HFC imports

USA: The US Environmental Protection Agency has recently issued penalties of over $500,000 in a crack down on companies who have contravened the country’s HFC phase down regulations.

With the EPA making it a priority to address the illegal import of HFCs, it claims to have settled five cases over the last several months with HFC importers.

Open Mountain Energy, a Utah-based geothermal power generation company, will pay a penalty of $41,566 for the attempted illegal import of approximately 20 tonnes of the blowing agent HFC245fa from China.

In a second case, the EPA agreed a settlement of $3,300 in December with Sigma Air, an HVAC contractor based in San Antonio, Texas. Sigma was accused of the attempted illegal import of 1,695kg of R410A.

The EPA also recently pursued three HFC importers for failing to accurately report their import quantities. Combs Investment Property of Houston, Texas, paid a penalty of $241,562 for failing to file timely annual reports for 2016 through 2019; Waysmos USA of Austin, Texas, paid a penalty of $209,000 for failing to file timely reports of its industrial greenhouse gas import quantities for at least calendar years 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020; Nature Gas Import and Export Inc of Casper, Wyoming, was handed a penalty of $84,546 for failing to provide timely reports of its import quantities for at least calendar years 2019 through 2020.

Under the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, the US will phase down HFC production and consumption by 85% by 2036. Over the past year, the EPA and US Customs and Border Protection denied entry to approximately 25 shipments of illegal HFCs. 

“Climate change continues to accelerate, which makes addressing super climate pollutants like HFCs a key part of EPA’s strategy to limit global climate change to 1.5ºC,” said assistant administrator David M Uhlmann for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Our HFC enforcement efforts send a clear message to HFC importers that the federal government is vigilantly monitoring imports of HFCs and will hold illegal actors accountable.”

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