Honeywell, Chemours File Appeal over SNAP 20 Rule to Regulate HFCs

October 31, 2017

In August, the Chemours Company expressed its disappointment with the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit regarding EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program Rule 20. In that decision, a federal court ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot require companies to replace potent heat-trapping chemicals with other substances.

In late September, refrigerants manufacturers Honeywell Refrigerants and the Chemours Company filed a petition for rehearing the August D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling regarding the EPA’s (SNAP) program.

The court found that in 2015, EPA exceeded its authority under the Clean Air Act with a rule that eliminated some uses for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) — which were previously accepted as alternatives to ozone-depleting substances — and approved certain replacements.

Honeywell and Chemours claim that the Court’s decision overturning the 2015 rule ignored the original intent to direct EPA to replace ozone depleting substances with the safest alternatives for various uses. The companies believe the decision undermines the innovation and private sector investment that American businesses have made to create and transition to safer alternative chemicals.

Chemours believes EPA had properly used its existing authority under the Clean Air Act and followed the required process to compare the impact of alternatives on human health and the environment before changing the status of high global warming potential alternatives to unacceptable.

Chemours contends that the legal basis of the SNAP 20 rule was well-founded, and the Court’s ruling exceeded its jurisdiction, effectively invalidating a decades-old EPA regulation and ignores the EPA’s original directive to ensure that safer alternatives are used to replace ozone-depleting substances.  The Court unanimously agreed with the EPA’s determination that these and other alternatives developed by U.S. companies have a lower overall risk to human health and the environment.

The SNAP program encourages the development of innovative solutions in refrigeration, air conditioning, insulation, and other segments.  American companies have invested well over a billion dollars to develop, commercialize, and build U.S. manufacturing facilities to produce and use novel alternatives such as hydrofluoro-olefin (HFO) technology—which is being adopted worldwide.

Honeywell stated that the SNAP program supports American innovation, manufacturing and global competitiveness in commercializing next-generation technologies. “Supported by this smart, pro-business program,” the company said in a press release, “American companies have invested well over $1B to invent, commercialize and build U.S. manufacturing facilities to produce HFO solutions to replace outdated HFC products. This regulation is well supported by the law, and we are confident that when this decision is reviewed that the original intent of fostering innovation while protecting human health and the environment will be restored.”

According to the release, a growing coalition of industry, academia and states agrees that this regulation is in the best interest of the public, industry and the environment.