There has been much recent discussion regarding the market for HCFC-22 in 2012, as the EPA works to finalize its allocation and production rights for 2012-2014. Here are some basic facts HARDI wanted to communicate to our membership.
1.) There is an ongoing EPA rulemaking concerning the allocation of refrigerants, including R-22 for 2012-2014. The EPA has suggested a reduction of allocation rights of R-22 between 11% and 47% in each year (2012-2014), in addition to the annual 10% reduction each of those years set by the 2009 Allocation Rule. EPA’s proposed reduction was not unexpected, and is supported by some industry stakeholders.
2.) Since the current rule is not final, it is illegal for a company with 2011 allocation rights to produce or imports HCFCs into the United States until receipt of a “non-enforcement” letter from EPA which was expected by many companies to arrive the first week of January; however this letter was delayed until Friday, January 20. Thereby, 15 work days had passed where no refrigerant production or importation occurred.
3.) In this “non-enforcement” letter, EPA stated that production and importation should be limited to approximately 17% of a company's 2011 baseline until the rulemaking is complete. If, when the rulemaking is completed, the final reduction is less than 17% of the 2011 baseline, a company will be allowed to increase production and importation to their allocated limits. HARDI does not expect this rulemaking to be completed by the beginning of summer.
4.) From 2005-2010 (2011 data is not yet available), only 77% of Consumption Allowances for HCFC-22 were used. These figures along with comment from stakeholders to the EPA, regarding the oversupply of R-22 in the marketplace and concerns of stockpiling, have led EPA to consider a more aggressive phasedown.
5.) In 2011, EPA sought comment from the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy, of which HARDI and all major refrigerant producers are members, regarding a suggestion for a more aggressive reduction in R-22. The Alliance formally submitted a suggestion for a 20% reduction in Consumption Allowances.
HARDI’s Refrigerants & Refrigeration Council is currently accepting member comments on what the annual reduction should be in this rule.