May ’23 at-a-glance … environment

SNAP regulations updated for extremely low-temperature equipment; proposed refrigeration rule issued

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a SNAP 25 final rule primarily for equipment necessary to reach extremely low temperatures, like that necessary for cryogenic ice cream and similar products. EPA also issued a SNAP 26 proposed rule listing possible substitutes for the refrigeration and air conditioning sector.

Update on gas bans: California ban overturned, New York, Washington and other efforts continue

Following a lengthy lawsuit, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled unanimously that the City of Berkeley, California’s ban on natural gas in buildings violates the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA). According to the California Restaurant Association (CRA), “Cities and states cannot ignore federal law in an effort to constrain consumer choice, and it is encouraging that the Ninth Circuit upheld this standard.”

New York previously passed a similar law banning fossil fuel combustion in most new buildings. The law likely will take effect in 2026 for new buildings under seven stories and in 2029 for larger buildings. The measure couldinclude exemptions for commercial kitchens and would not apply to existing residences. Since 2019, Washington state and roughly 90 local governments have moved to phase out natural gas and other fossil fuels in new structures. At the same time, 23 states have enacted “energy-choice” laws that prevent state and local governments from regulating energy sources for businesses and homes. NAFEM’s Technical Liaison Committee (TLC) Fuels Task Group is keeping an eye on these actions that represent a widening clash over gas stoves, fossil fuels and continued pressures to decarbonize.

EPA proposes methylene chloride ban

The EPA proposed a ban over the next 15 months on most uses of methylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane or DCM, used in a wide range of manufacturing applications like adhesives, sealants, degreasers and cleaners. Members are advised to carefully monitor their supply chains to ensure compliance should the ban be approved.