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Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Refrigerant Management Regulations for Small Cans of Motor Vehicle Refrigerant

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Refrigerant Management Regulations for Small Cans of Motor Vehicle Refrigerant

E. Scott Pruitt
Environmental Protection Agency
28 September 2017


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 187 (Thursday, September 28, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 45253-45255]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-20838]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 82

[EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0213; FRL-9968-67-OAR]
RIN 2060-AT43


Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Refrigerant Management 
Regulations for Small Cans of Motor Vehicle Refrigerant

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: EPA is proposing this action to correct an editing oversight 
that lead to a potential conflict in a prior rulemaking as to whether 
or not containers holding two pounds or less of non-exempt substitute 
refrigerants for use in motor vehicle air conditioning that are not 
equipped with a self-sealing valve can be sold to persons that are not 
certified technicians, provided those small cans were manufactured or 
imported prior to January 1, 2018. This action clarifies that those 
small cans may continue to be sold to persons that are not certified as 
technicians under sections 608 or 609 of the Clean Air Act. In the 
``Rules and Regulations'' section of this Federal Register, EPA is 
publishing this action as a direct final

[[Page 45254]]

rule without a prior proposed rule. If we receive no adverse comment, 
we will not take further action on this proposed rule.

DATES: Written comments must be received by October 30, 2017. Any party 
requesting a public hearing must notify the contact listed below under 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT by 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on 
October 5, 2017. If a public hearing is requested, the hearing will be 
held on or around October 13, 2017. If a hearing is held, it will take 
place at EPA headquarters in Washington, DC. EPA will post a notice on 
our Web site, www.epa.gov/section608, announcing further information 
should a hearing take place.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-
OAR-2017-0213, at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online 
instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot 
be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. EPA may publish any comment 
received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any 
information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) 
or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. 
Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a 
written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment 
and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. EPA will 
generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of 
the primary submission (i.e., on the web, cloud, or other file sharing 
system). For additional submission methods, the full EPA public comment 
policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general 
guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sara Kemme by regular mail: U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency, Stratospheric Protection Division 
(6205T), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460; by 
telephone: (202) 566-0511; or by email: kemme.sara@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Why is EPA issuing this Proposed Rule?

    On November 18, 2016, EPA published a rule finalizing a restriction 
that non-exempt substitute refrigerants may only be sold to technicians 
certified under sections 608 or 609 of the CAA (81 FR 82280). In the 
case of refrigerant for use in motor vehicle air conditioning (MVAC), 
EPA finalized the exemption for the sale of certain small cans of non-
ozone-depleting substitutes with a self-sealing valve to allow the do-
it-yourself community to continue servicing their personal vehicles. 
However, the Agency did not finalize a sell-through provision as 
proposed. Instead, EPA intended to allow the continued sale of small 
cans without self-sealing valves that were manufactured or imported 
before January 1, 2018, and described that intent in the preamble to 
the final rule. See 81 FR 82280, 82342.
    These intentions were also expressed in the regulatory text at 40 
CFR 82.154(c)(2), which was revised in the November 2016 rule to state: 
``Self-sealing valve specifications. This provision applies starting 
January 1, 2018, for all containers holding two pounds or less of non-
exempt substitute refrigerant for use in an MVAC that are manufactured 
or imported on or after that date. (i) Each container holding two 
pounds or less of non-exempt substitute refrigerant for use in an MVAC 
must be equipped with a single self-sealing valve that automatically 
closes and seals when not dispensing refrigerant . . . .'' However, 
because of an editing error, another provision, 40 CFR 
82.154(c)(1)(ix), contains text that could be construed as 
contradicting the Agency's clearly expressed intent to allow non-
technicians to purchase, and retailers to sell, small cans of 
refrigerant for use in MVAC that were manufactured or imported before 
the January 1, 2018, compliance date irrespective of whether they have 
a self-sealing valve.
    The Automotive Refrigeration Products Institute and the Auto Care 
Association inquired about whether the language in 40 CFR 
82.154(c)(1)(ix) effectively negates the provision in 40 CFR 
82.154(c)(2) and the preamble discussion showing EPA's intention to 
allow small cans of refrigerant for use in MVAC manufactured or 
imported before January 1, 2018, to continue to be sold without self-
sealing valves. EPA is proposing this rule to revise the regulatory 
text so that persons in possession of small cans of refrigerant for use 
in MVAC without self-sealing valves that were manufactured or imported 
before January 1, 2018, can be assured that they will be able to sell 
off their existing inventories without disruption.
    EPA has published a direct final rule making identical edits to the 
regulatory text as those proposed here in the ``Rules and Regulations'' 
section of this Federal Register because we view this as a 
noncontroversial action and anticipate no adverse comment. We have 
further explained our reasons for this action in the preamble to the 
direct final rule. For additional information on the action being 
taken, see the direct final rule published in the Rules and Regulations 
section of this Federal Register.
    If we receive no adverse comment, we will not take further action 
on this proposed rule. If we receive adverse comment, we will withdraw 
the direct final rule and it will not take effect. In that case, we 
would address all public comments in any subsequent final rule based on 
this proposed rule.
    We do not intend to institute a second comment period on this 
action. Any parties interested in commenting must do so at this time. 
EPA is not proposing, and is not seeking comment on, any changes to the 
regulations at 40 CFR part 82, subpart F other than the proposed 
revisions discussed in this notice. For further information on how to 
submit comments, please see the information provided in the ADDRESSES 
section of this document.

II. Does this action apply to me?

    Categories and entities potentially affected by this action include 
entities that distribute or sell small cans refrigerant for use in 
MVAC. Regulated entities include, but are not limited to, manufacturers 
and distributors of small cans of refrigerant (NAICS codes 325120, 
441310, 447110) such as automotive parts and accessories stores and 
industrial gas manufacturers.
    This list is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather to provide a 
guide for readers regarding entities likely to be regulated by this 
action. To determine whether your facility, company, business, or 
organization could be regulated by this action, you should carefully 
examine the regulations at 40 CFR part 82, subpart F. If you have 
questions regarding the applicability of this action to a particular 
entity, consult the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT section.

III. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive 
Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review

    This action is not a significant regulatory action and was 
therefore not submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
for review.

B. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    This action does not impose any new information collection burden 
under the PRA. OMB has previously approved the information collection 
activities

[[Page 45255]]

contained in the existing regulations and has assigned OMB control 
number 2060-0256. These changes do not add information collection 
requirements beyond those currently required under the applicable 
regulations.

C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    I certify that this action will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities under the RFA. In 
making this determination, the impact of concern is any significant 
adverse economic impact on small entities. An agency may certify that a 
rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities if the rule relieves regulatory burden, has no 
net burden or otherwise has a positive economic effect on the small 
entities subject to the rule. This action clarifies that small cans of 
refrigerant for use in MVAC may be sold to persons who are not 
certified technicians even if they are not equipped with a self-sealing 
valve, so long as those small cans are manufactured or imported prior 
to January 1, 2018. We have therefore concluded that this action will 
have no net regulatory burden for all directly regulated small 
entities.

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    This action does not contain any unfunded mandate as described in 
UMRA, 2 U.S.C. 1531-1538, and does not significantly or uniquely affect 
small governments. This action corrects a potential conflict in the 
refrigerant management regulations as to whether or not small cans of 
refrigerant for use in MVAC could be sold to non-technicians if they 
were manufactured or imported prior to January 1, 2018, and do not have 
a self-sealing valve. This action clarifies that those small cans of 
refrigerant for use in MVAC may be sold to persons who are not 
certified technicians.

E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    This action does not have federalism implications. It will not have 
substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between 
the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power 
and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

F. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian 
Tribal Governments

    This action does not have tribal implications as specified in 
Executive Order 13175. This action corrects a potential conflict in the 
refrigerant management regulations as to whether or not small cans of 
refrigerant for use in MVAC could be sold to non-technicians if they 
were manufactured or imported prior to January 1, 2018, and do not have 
a self-sealing valve. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to 
this action.

G. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental 
Health Risks and Safety Risks

    The EPA interprets Executive Order 13045 as applying only to those 
regulatory actions that concern environmental health or safety risks 
that the EPA has reason to believe may disproportionately affect 
children, per the definition of ``covered regulatory action'' in 
section 2-202 of the Executive Order. This action is not subject to 
Executive Order 13045 because it does not concern an environmental 
health risk or safety risk.

H. Executive Order 13211: Actions That Significantly Affect Energy 
Supply, Distribution, or Use

    This action is not subject to Executive Order 13211, because it is 
not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    This rulemaking does not involve technical standards.

J. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental 
Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations

    The EPA believes that this action does not have disproportionately 
high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority 
populations, low-income populations and/or indigenous peoples, as 
specified in Executive Order 12898 (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994).
    This action does not affect the level of protection provided to 
human health or the environment. This action corrects a potential 
conflict in the refrigerant management regulations as to whether or not 
small cans of refrigerant for use in MVAC could be sold to non-
technicians if they were manufactured or imported prior to January 1, 
2018, and do not have a self-sealing valve. This action clarifies that 
those small cans of refrigerant for use in MVAC may be sold to persons 
who are not certified technicians. The documentation for this decision 
is contained in Docket No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0213, where EPA's assessment 
of the underlying regulatory changes that necessitated this correction 
found no disproportionately high and adverse human health or 
environmental effects on minority populations, low-income populations 
and/or indigenous peoples.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 82

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Chemicals, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: September 21, 2017.
E. Scott Pruitt,
Administrator.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Environmental 
Protection Agency proposes to amend 40 CFR part 82 as follows:

PART 82--PROTECTION OF STRATOSPHERIC OZONE

0
1. The authority citation for part 82 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  42 U.S.C. 7414, 7601, 7671-7671q.

0
2. In Sec.  82.154, revise paragraph (c)(1)(ix) to read as follows:


Sec.  82.154  Prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (ix) The non-exempt substitute refrigerant is intended for use in 
an MVAC and is sold in a container designed to hold two pounds or less 
of refrigerant, has a unique fitting, and, if manufactured or imported 
on or after January 1, 2018, has a self-sealing valve that complies 
with the requirements of paragraph (c)(2) of this section.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2017-20838 Filed 9-27-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6560-50-P

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