Senate bill would let EPA implement global greenhouse gas deal

Senate bill would let EPA implement global greenhouse gas deal
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill Friday that would let the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implement a global deal meant to phase out certain greenhouse gases.

The legislation would give the EPA authority to ban hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), potent greenhouse gases used in refrigeration and air conditioning.

After world leaders agreed to a phaseout plan in 2015, the EPA wrote its own regulation to restrict the use of HFCs in the United States. But a federal court last year overturned that regulation and said the EPA does not have the authority to implement it.

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“On the surface, this bill seems more complicated than high school chemistry, but really it’s pretty simple,” Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) said in a statement. “It’s about jobs. And it’s about protecting the investment by Louisiana companies in new technologies and protecting Louisiana jobs.”

Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOvernight Energy: New EPA head looks to reassure staff | New round of ex-Pruitt staffers leave | House votes to overhaul fisheries law | Trump rips Germany for pipeline deal with Russia Dems grasp for way to stop Trump's Supreme Court pick McConnell to meet with Trump's Supreme Court pick Tuesday MORE (D-Del.) said the bill, called the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act, “continues support for American development and manufacturing of next-generation HFC-alternatives, while also protecting our environment and helping the U.S. meet its obligations under the amended Montreal Protocol — a true win-win.”

The EPA would likely have the authority to phase out HFCs if the Senate were to ratify the the 2015 deal, dubbed the Kigali Amendment.

But President TrumpDonald John TrumpReporters defend CNN's Acosta after White House says he 'disrespected' Trump with question Security costs of Trump visit to Scotland sparks outrage among Scottish citizens Ex-CIA officer: Prosecution of Russians indicted for DNC hack 'ain't ever going to happen' MORE has not yet decided whether he supports the deal and whether he will submit it to the Senate for ratification, which requires a two-thirds majority vote.

Phasing out HFCs has the support of environmentalists and industry alike, since domestic manufacturers want to have the same rules worldwide for their products.

“Enhancing U.S. technological leadership and supporting U.S. industry and the jobs it creates and sustains are key components of our support for the Kigali Amendment, and this bill will create a certain pathway for implementation of Kigali if, as we hope, it is submitted to and ratified by the Senate,” said Stephen Yurek, president of the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute.