December ’22 at-a-glance … environment

EPA recommends increasing social cost of carbon

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended a higher social cost of carbon to be used in evaluating government decision making around the impact of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). EPA recommends a range from $120 to $340 per ton in 2020 to $280 to $600 per ton in 2080. This proposed amount is higher than that recommended by the White House interagency working group’s current estimate of $51 per ton.

“A social cost of carbon helps decision makers and the public translate the complex harm of emissions into values that can be readily understood,” said Nathaniel Shoaff with the Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program.

EPA introduces new HFC restrictions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed rule under the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act to restrict the use of super-polluting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in refrigeration and other products where more climate friendly alternatives are available. The proposed rule would prohibit the manufacture and import of products containing restricted HFCs by Jan. 1, 2025, in most cases, and would prohibit the sale, distribution and export of products containing restricted HFCs a year later, which in most cases would be Jan. 1, 2026. The HFCs that would be restricted are those with high global warming potential (GWP).

A prepublication version of the 300+-page proposed rule is available now. Proposed restrictions begin on page 142. Comments will be due 45 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Scrutiny on PFAS escalates

EPA continues its focus on eliminating per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs), expanding regulations through a “whole-agency approach” that leverages a number of existing programs, including the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The agency details a three-pronged approach to eliminate exposure to PFAs in its PFAs Road Map:

  • Increase investments in research.
  • Leverage authorities to act now to restrict PFAS chemicals from being released into the environment.
  • Accelerate the cleanup of PFAS contamination. 

“We understand EPA is preparing to propose maximum PFAS contaminant levels under the Safe Drinking Water Act,” said Jeff Longsworth, NAFEM legal counsel, Barnes & Thornburg. “Many states also have introduced PFAS-limiting laws. While commercial foodservice equipment, including cookware, is not yet a focus, it is expected to become so, which is why it’s important that NAFEM members thoroughly understand their supply chains.”