Rule Steps Up Phase Out of Ozone-depleting Chemicals

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking the next step to eliminate harmful hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) emissions, which are ozone-depleting substances and potent greenhouse gases.

"EPA is leading the way and working with the global community in helping to protect the environment for future generations with the phase out of HCFCs," said Robert J. Meyers, principal deputy assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. "This proposal will help restore the ozone layer and address climate change."

The proposed rule would decrease the consumption and production of HCFCs for the years 2010 to 2014. Consumption and production will be reduced by at least 75 percent in 2010. As a party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the United States will completely phase out HCFCs in 2030.

This action will also amend provisions concerning HCFC production for developing countries' basic domestic needs and would clarify a ban on the sale and distribution of HCFCs through interstate commerce under the Clean Air Act. EPA will accept comments on the proposed rule for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

In 1993, EPA started eliminating the most harmful HCFCs to implement the Montreal Protocol's gradual phase out of overall HCFC levels.

One hundred ninety-three countries are parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Signed in 1987, this successful treaty is helping to heal the ozone layer by ending the production of ozone-depleting substances.

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