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Oct 17 -- This Notice of Data Availability (NODA) is to alert stakeholders of information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the United States' hydrofluorocarbon reclamation market and to solicit stakeholder input. The Agency is making available a draft report, Analysis of the U.S. Hydrofluorocarbon Reclamation Market: Stakeholders, Drivers, and Practices, which analyzes the United States' hydrofluorocarbon reclamation market and describes the reclamation process, factors affecting costs of reclamation, incentives, and barriers to refrigerant reclamation. The Agency is providing this information in preparation for an upcoming regulatory action which EPA intends to propose under subsection (h) of the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020. The notice identifies possible data gaps and requests comment on areas where additional information could improve the Agency's information on the United States hydrofluorocarbon reclamation market and practices. The Agency is also providing notice of a stakeholder meeting to enable stakeholders to provide input as the Agency prepares to engage in rulemaking.

To ensure that comments can be accounted for in an upcoming proposed rule that EPA is considering, please submit comments to the Agency by November 7, 2022.

The Agency is providing information in preparation for an upcoming regulatory action under the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020 (AIM Act or Act), codified at 42 U.S.C. 7675. Among other provisions, subsection (h) of the Act authorizes EPA to establish certain requirements for management of certain hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and their substitutes. Specifically, subsection (h)(1) of the Act directs the Agency to establish regulations to control, where appropriate, practices, processes, or activities regarding the servicing, repair, disposal, or installation of equipment, for purposes of maximizing the reclamation and minimizing the release of certain HFCs from equipment and ensuring the safety of technicians and consumers. Subsection (h) also provides that “[i]n carrying out this section, the Administrator shall consider the use of authority available to the Administrator under this section to increase opportunities for the reclaiming of regulated substances used as refrigerants” (subsection (h)(2)(A)) and authorizes EPA in promulgating regulations carrying out subsection (h) of the AIM Act to “coordinate those regulations with any other [EPA] regulations” involving “the same or a similar practice, process, or activity regarding the servicing, repair, disposal, or installation of equipment,” or reclaiming (subsection (h)(3)). Such regulations could potentially include the refrigerant management program established under title VI of the Clean Air Act.

EPA is seeking comment on the accuracy of the data and analyses presented in the draft report in the docket to this notice regarding the United States' hydrofluorocarbon refrigerant reclamation market and welcomes input on those data and potential data gaps. . . . EPA plans to undergo a future notice and comment rulemaking process, which will be a separate action, that will outline the Agency's approach to the management of HFCs and their substitutes under the AIM Act. EPA will solicit public feedback on these issues through that separate notice and comment process, and therefore is not accepting public comment on these matters through this notice. . . . Use of AIM Act terminology in this notice is for communication purposes only and should not be viewed as indications of how EPA will define these terms in any future rulemaking action. EPA intends to provide more information on the status of rulemakings and stakeholder interaction, including opportunities for submitting public comment, on the Agency's website: https://www.epa.gov/​climate-hfcs-reduction.

EPA will hold a virtual stakeholder meeting for input on the draft report and an upcoming regulatory action which EPA intends to propose under subsection (h) of the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020. Information concerning this meeting will be available on the Agency's website: https://www.epa.gov/​climate-hfcs-reduction.

This notice provides for public review and comment on the draft report, Analysis of the U.S. Hydrofluorocarbon Reclamation Market: Stakeholders, Drivers, and Practices, that is available in the docket. The draft report describes EPA's current understanding of the U.S. HFC refrigerant reclamation market and provides information on the reclamation process, factors affecting costs of reclamation, incentives, and barriers to reclamation. EPA requests comment on the information and analysis in the draft report, and information on potential data gaps.

The report provides background information on the reclamation industry in support of an upcoming proposed rule that EPA is considering under subsection (h) of the AIM Act to establish regulations to control, where appropriate, practices, processes, or activities regarding the servicing, repair, disposal, or installation of equipment, for purposes of maximizing the reclamation and minimizing the release of certain HFCs from equipment and ensuring the safety of technicians and consumers. The draft report provides information on the following:

• Background information on the refrigerant reclamation of HFCs, federal and state statutory and regulatory provisions
• Subsectors and applications using refrigerants
• Historical reclamation market in the U.S., the reclamation process, factors affecting costs of reclamation, and incentives for refrigerant reclamation
• Safety of technicians and consumers
• Barriers and key challenges to refrigerant reclamation.

EPA is accepting comments on possible data gaps and areas where additional information could improve the Agency's information outlined in this notice and contained in the draft report, Analysis of the U.S. Hydrofluorocarbon Reclamation Market: Stakeholders, Drivers, and Practices. Specifically, EPA requests comment on topics contained in the draft report, including but not limited to:

• Current reclamation process, practices, and technologies
• Supply chain of reclaimed refrigerants (e.g.,recovery, collection, stockpiling, destruction)
• Costs of reclamation (e.g., price of refrigerants, transport, storage, operating costs of reclamation systems)
Incentives for reclamation
• Safety of technicians and consumers (e.g., outreach, best practices)
• Barriers and challenges to reclamation (e.g., contamination and accommodation of blends and cylinders with mixed refrigerants, market demand).
 
For paper, see OAR Dockets Open for Public Comment: https://www.epa.gov/dockets/oar-dockets-open-public-comment
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-22458

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