Press Release

Vermont Joins States Transitioning from Super Climate-polluting HFCs

NRDC
Jake Thompson

jthompson@nrdc.org, (202) 289-2387

Audubon Vermont
David Mears, dmears@audubon.org, (802) 434-3068

VPIRG
Kanika Gandhi, Kgandhi@vpirg.org (802-798-2960)

MONTPELIER, VT – Vermont today joined a growing number of states keeping the U.S. on track to phase down climate-polluting hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, as Gov. Phil Scott enacted a law curbing their use in home and business refrigeration systems, building chillers, insulating foams and aerosols.

The governor signed S.30 barring the use of HFCs in major applications where there are safer alternatives, action that was hailed by environmental and public interest groups. HFCs have hundreds to thousands of times the heat-trapping power of carbon pollution, and both contribute to climate change.

The Vermont bill mirrors laws already in effect in California and Washington State. In addition, New York, Maryland, and Connecticut have committed to adopt these HFC limits under their states’ air pollution laws. Other states in the 24-member U.S. Climate Alliance are expected to follow suit.

The Obama administration EPA issued national rules phasing down the use of HFCs, but a federal court partially struck them down in 2018, finding a gap in EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act. The states are picking up the slack and keeping the country on track to transition to other cooling chemicals that don’t damage the climate.

David Doniger, senior strategic director of the Climate & Clean Energy program at the Natural Resources Defense Council said: “The Green Mountain state is acting boldly to shield people from dangerous climate change. Moving to replace harmful HFCs with safer alternatives will create jobs, cleaner air and prosperity. It helps keep our country in sync with a global phase-down underway of these super-polluting chemicals. And it demonstrates strong leadership other states should take to heart—and climb aboard the HFC train.”

“Climate change is one of the greatest threats to Vermont’s birds,” said David Mears, Executive Director of Audubon Vermont, “so everything we do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is a critical step forward.” He continued, “passage of this legislation to phase out the use of HFC’s is exactly the kind of leadership we need from our elected leaders – I hope that the tripartisan support we have seen for this new law is a preview of the more comprehensive action that is needed to turn the curve on climate change.”

“HFCs are climate killers,” said Kanika Gandhi, Environmental Advocate at the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG). “This legislation means that Vermont will join with other leading states in phasing out these potent climate pollutants and transitioning to safer alternatives. VPIRG appreciates the work of legislative leaders in prioritizing this bill. There’s obviously much more to be done to address climate chaos, but this is a meaningful step forward.”

The Obama administration EPA issued national rules phasing down the use of HFCs, but a federal court partially struck them down in 2018, finding a gap in EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act. The states are picking up the slack and keeping the country on track to transition to other cooling chemicals that don’t damage the climate.

For more on the move to phase down HFC’s go here: https://www.nrdc.org/experts/david-doniger/vermont-joins-hfc-phase-down-club

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC

Audubon Vermont is a state program of the National Audubon Society. Our mission is to protect birds, other wildlife and their habitat by engaging people of all ages in education, conservation, stewardship and action. Visit our website at http://vt.audubon.org/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AudubonVermont/.

Founded in 1972, VPIRG is the largest nonprofit consumer and environmental advocacy organization in Vermont, with over 50,000 members and supporters. For over 45 years, VPIRG has brought the voice of average Vermont citizens to public policy debates concerning the environment, health care, consumer protection and democracy. We are educators, advocates and organizers working to protect the public interest.

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