Notification of Guidance Concerning the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program.


The Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) was established under Section 612 of the Clean Air Act to identify and evaluate substitutes for ozone-depleting substances. Under this policy the EPA has established Rules which identifies substitutes that have been determined unacceptable, acceptable to use condition, and acceptable subject to narrowed use limits across various industrial use sectors.


In the summer of 2015 the Environmental Protection Agency added a new rule to their Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP). This new rule, labeled Rule 20, was designed and targeted towards phasing out Hydroflurocarbon refrigerants. HFC refrigerants include some of the most popular refrigerants used today such as R-404A, R-410A, and R-134a.


On Aug. 8, 2017 a US Court of Appeals has struck down the EPAs ban on HFCs (Hydrofluorocarbons) used across various manufacturing sectors.   The court ruled that EPA did not have authority to “require manufacturers to replace HFCs with a substitute substance.”


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently issued a notice of guidance affirming that it would adhere to the Court of Appeals ruling that limits its ability to regulate HFCs while also stating its intention to move forward with a notice-and-comment rulemaking as well as an in-depth review of the SNAP program.  The agency will seek input from interested stakeholders prior to developing a proposed rule.


Recently the EPA held a stakeholder meeting in Washington, DC to allow interested parties to provide input on what the Agency should consider as it begins developing a proposed rule in response to the court’s remand of the 2015 Rule.


Currently companies may continue to use HFC compounds that were listed as “unacceptable” within the 2015 Rule.  However, the EPA is very motivated to evaluate the next steps for preceding with regulation of HFCs.  This may take place through other statutes such as the Toxic Substances Control Act.


For all your chemical regulatory needs and to stay up to date on the evolving regulatory landscape please contact Nexreg Compliance today.