June at-a-glance … environment

Comments on EPAs proposed HFC phasedown due July 6

NAFEM continues to represent members’ perspectives on the hydrofluorocarbon stepdown allowances proposed under the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act of 2020 during meetings with the EPA and the Small Business Association Office of Advocacy (SBAOA). At the same time, NAFEM is working to identify specific product category challenges and member needs related to the step-down allocations through a member survey that closed on June 18. With this information, NAFEM will provide comments to EPA before the July 6 deadline. EPA recommends that the first step in the phase down be completed by Dec. 31.

Once a final EPA rule takes effect, state laws will be preempted for five years, with another five-year preemption possible. The new regulations will not impact the use of HFCs in existing refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, but they could limit aftermarket supplies of HFCs for servicing existing equipment.

Environmental justice conversations gaining momentum

Efforts to ensure the same protections for everyone from environmental and health hazards, called environmental justice, are gaining steam around the world. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ), launched in 1992, recently introduced a new environmental justice mapping tool to help it better understand which communities may benefit from customized outreach, permitting, enforcement and compliance initiatives.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, author Auden Schendler explains The Climate-Equity Connection. “The reality is that climate is pushing on business as usual – on our entire economic system – from all sides,” he says. “A key takeaway for business leaders who are trying to stay on top of social responsibility issues and climate at the same time: Fixing climate requires fixing equity. Stakeholders know this and will increasingly call foul if a business doesn’t demonstrate its understanding of this connection.”