WASHINGTON—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing rules to reduce the use of coolants from air conditioners and refrigerators that are potent greenhouse gases, fulfilling new mandates from Congress with regulations favored by large portions of U.S. industry, according to the agency.
The proposal would create a process for reducing the use of hydrofluorocarbons in cooling appliances, the first step toward meeting new mandates to cut their supply by 85% over 15 years, the EPA said. Congress passed that mandate in December in provisions included in a $2 trillion spending and Covid-19 aid package.
“EPA is taking a major action to help keep global temperature rise in check,” agency Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement, adding that the action will spur “manufacturing of new climate-safe products.”
The effort has bipartisan support and backing from the industry. The Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, a trade group for equipment manufacturers, has said U.S. companies have spent billions of dollars developing alternative chemicals to sell globally, which would get a boost if the U.S. joins international efforts to eliminate hydrofluorocarbons, known as HFCs.
Karen Meyers, a vice president at Atlanta-based Rheem Manufacturing Co., which makes air-conditioning equipment, said in a statement provided by the EPA that the new rule “is key to achieving an orderly HFC phasedown in the United States, creating a uniform federal approach to this effort.”