EPA moves on green refrigerants

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday proposed federal approval of climate-friendly refrigerants used in household air conditioners and refrigerators, as part of President Obama’s quest to counter global warming.

The action, part of the agency’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program, is aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

“This proposal is a great example of how businesses and EPA can foster innovation by working together to identify refrigerants that better protect our environment,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said.

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Under the SNAP program, one facet of the president’s bid to tackle climate change through regulatory action, the agency is trying to identify substitutes for current technology and industry practices that are safer for the ozone layer.

The EPA is pressing forward with a proposal to expand the list of SNAP approved alternatives to include chemicals that could replace ozone-depleting hydrofluorocarbons.

The substitutes being proposed could be used in stand-alone commercial and household refrigerators and freezers, very low temperature refrigeration, non-mechanical heat transfer, vending machines and room air conditioning units.

The chemicals proposed for approval are already in wide use in Asia and Europe, the agency said.

The proposal will be published in the Federal Register, starting the clock on a 60-day public comment period.