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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today, as part of a coalition of 11 attorneys general, urged the U.S. Congress to support the bipartisan American Innovation and Manufacturing Leadership (AIM) Act to facilitate the phasing out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a refrigerant that is a potent greenhouse gas. The AIM Act would allow the United States to join the worldwide phaseout of HFCs, a transition that would help prevent an up to one-half degree Celsius of warming by the end of the century. In their letter, the coalition highlights the economic and environmental benefits expected to result from the phaseout of HFCs and the widespread support for the AIM Act from both industry groups and environmentalists.
“We are the stewards of our environment, and our actions today will determine the planet we leave behind for future generations,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The phaseout of HFCs is an essential step for reducing emissions and will improve public health and create much-needed jobs in our economy. With the current coronavirus pandemic straining our system like never before, we urge Congress to pass this commonsense measure that both industry and environmentalists can get behind.”
HFCs are thousands of times more potent for global warming than carbon dioxide and are the fastest growing source of emissions in the United States and the world. In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued regulations that would have required HFCs to be phased out and replaced with safer chemicals. As a result, U.S. businesses have already invested in technologies to manufacture alternatives. However, the phaseout was struck down in 2017 on the grounds that the EPA lacked the authority under the Clean Air Act to require it. The ruling has led to significant uncertainty in the industry and additional litigation.
The AIM Act would provide the EPA with authority to regulate HFCs and facilitate their phaseout over the next fifteen years. The legislation is supported by a diverse group of stakeholders, including the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute; National Association of Manufacturers; Natural Resources Defense Council; and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Industry forecasts that the HFC phaseout in the AIM Act will directly create 33,000 American manufacturing jobs and add another 117,000 indirect jobs over the next decade. The phaseout is also expected to expand the U.S. share of the world market for heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration equipment by 25 percent.
Attorney General Becerra joins the attorneys general of Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia in sending the letter to Congress.
A copy of the letter can be found here.