[Federal Register Volume 62, Number 46 (Monday, March 10, 1997)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 10700-10703]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 97-5887]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
40 CFR Part 82

[FRL-5701-1]


Protection of Stratospheric Ozone

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION: Notice of acceptability.

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SUMMARY: This notice expands the list of acceptable substitutes for 
ozone-depleting substances (ODS) under the U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency's (EPA) Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) 
program.

EFFECTIVE DATE: March 10, 1997.

ADDRESSES: Information relevant to this notice is contained in Air 
Docket A-91-42, Central Docket Section, South Conference Room 4, U.S. 
Environmental Agency, 401 M Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20460. 
Telephone: (202) 260-7548. The docket may be inspected between 8:00 
a.m. and 5:30 p.m. weekdays. As provided in 40 CFR part 2, a reasonable 
fee may be charged for photocopying.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sally Rand at (202) 233-9739 or fax 
(202) 233-9577, U.S. EPA, Stratospheric Protection Division, 401 M 
Street, S.W., Mail Code 6205J, Washington, D.C. 20460; EPA 
Stratospheric Ozone Protection Hotline at (800) 296-1996; EPA World 
Wide Web Site at http://

[[Page 10701]]

www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/snap/snap.html.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
I. Section 612 Program
    A. Statutory Requirements
    B. Regulatory History
II. Listing of Acceptable Substitutes
    A. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning: Substitutes for Class I 
Substances
    B. Foam Blowing
III. Additional Information

Appendix A-- Summary of Acceptable Decisions

I. Section 612 Program

A. Statutory Requirements

    Section 612 of the Clean Air Act authorizes EPA to develop a 
program for evaluating alternatives to ozone-depleting substances. EPA 
refers to this program as the Significant New Alternatives Policy 
(SNAP) program. The major provisions of section 612 are:
    Rulemaking--Section 612(c) requires EPA to promulgate rules making 
it unlawful to replace any class I (chlorofluorocarbon, halon, carbon 
tetrachloride, methyl chloroform, methyl bromide, and 
hydrobromofluorocarbon) or class II (hydrochlorofluorocarbon) substance 
with any substitute that the Administrator determines may present 
adverse effects to human health or the environment where the 
Administrator has identified an alternative that (1) reduces the 
overall risk to human health and the environment, and (2) is currently 
or potentially available.
    Listing of Unacceptable/Acceptable Substitutes--Section 612(c) also 
requires EPA to publish a list of the substitutes unacceptable for 
specific uses. EPA must publish a corresponding list of acceptable 
alternatives for specific uses.
    Petition Process--Section 612(d) grants the right to any person to 
petition EPA to add a substance to or delete a substance from the lists 
published in accordance with section 612(c). The Agency has 90 days to 
grant or deny a petition. Where the Agency grants the petition, EPA 
must publish the revised lists within an additional 6 months.
    90-day Notification--Section 612(e) requires EPA to require any 
person who produces a chemical substitute for a class I substance to 
notify the Agency not less than 90 days before new or existing 
chemicals are introduced into interstate commerce for significant new 
uses as substitutes for a class I substance. The producer must also 
provide the Agency with the producer's unpublished health and safety 
studies on such substitutes.
    Outreach--Section 612(b)(1) states that the Administrator shall 
seek to maximize the use of federal research facilities and resources 
to assist users of class I and II substances in identifying and 
developing alternatives to the use of such substances in key commercial 
applications.
    Clearinghouse--Section 612(b)(4) requires the Agency to set up a 
public clearinghouse of alternative chemicals, product substitutes, and 
alternative manufacturing processes that are available for products and 
manufacturing processes which use class I and II substances.

B. Regulatory History

    On March 18, 1994, EPA published the Final Rulemaking (FRM) (59 FR 
13044) which described the process for administering the SNAP program 
and issued EPA's first acceptability lists for substitutes in the major 
industrial use sectors. These sectors include: Refrigeration and air 
conditioning; foam blowing; solvent cleaning; fire suppression and 
explosion protection; sterilants; aerosols; adhesives, coatings and 
inks; and tobacco expansion. These sectors compose the principal 
industrial sectors that historically consumed the largest volumes of 
ozone-depleting compounds.
    As described in the final rule for the SNAP program (59 FR 13044), 
EPA does not believe that rulemaking procedures are required to list 
alternatives as acceptable with no limitations. Such listings do not 
impose any sanction, nor do they remove any prior license to use a 
substance. Consequently, by this notice EPA is adding substances to the 
list of acceptable alternatives without first requesting comment on new 
listings.
    EPA does, however, believe that Notice-and-Comment rulemaking is 
required to place any substance on the list of prohibited substitutes, 
to list a substance as acceptable only under certain conditions, to 
list substances as acceptable only for certain uses, or to remove a 
substance from either the list of prohibited or acceptable substitutes. 
Updates to these lists are published as separate notices of rulemaking 
in the Federal Register.
    The Agency defines a ``substitute'' as any chemical, product 
substitute, or alternative manufacturing process, whether existing or 
new, that could replace a class I or class II substance. Anyone who 
produces a substitute must provide the Agency with health and safety 
studies on the substitute at least 90 days before introducing it into 
interstate commerce for significant new use as an alternative. This 
requirement applies to substitute manufacturers, but may include 
importers, formulators or end-users, when they are responsible for 
introducing a substitute into commerce.
    EPA published Notices listing acceptable alternatives on August 26, 
1994 (59 FR 44240), January 13, 1995 (60 FR 3318), July 28, 1995 (60 FR 
38729), February 8, 1996 (61 FR 4736), and September 5, 1996 (61 FR 
47012), and published Final Rulemakings restricting the use of certain 
substitutes on June 13, 1995 (60 FR 31092), May 22, 1996 (61 FR 25585), 
and October 16, 1996 (61 FR 54030).

II. Listing of Acceptable Substitutes

    This section presents EPA's most recent acceptable listing 
decisions for substitutes for class I and class II substances in the 
following industrial sectors: refrigeration and air conditioning, and 
foam blowing. In this Notice, EPA has split the refrigeration and air 
conditioning sector into two parts: substitutes for class I substances 
and substitutes for class II substances. For copies of the full list, 
contact the EPA Stratospheric Protection Hotline at (800) 296-1996.
    Parts A through C below present a detailed discussion of the 
substitute listing determinations by major use sector. Tables 
summarizing today's listing decisions are in Appendix A. The comments 
contained in Appendix A provide additional information on a substitute, 
but for listings of acceptable substitutes, they are not legally 
binding under section 612 of the Clean Air Act. Thus, adherence to 
recommendations in the comments is not mandatory for use as a 
substitute. In addition, the comments should not be considered 
comprehensive with respect to other legal obligations pertaining to the 
use of the substitute. However, EPA encourages users of acceptable 
substitutes to apply all comments to their use of these substitutes. In 
many instances, the comments simply allude to sound operating practices 
that have already been identified in existing industry and/or building-
code standards. Thus, many of the comments, if adopted, would not 
require significant changes in existing operating practices for the 
affected industry.

A. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning: Class I

1. Secondary Loop Systems
    In the Notice published September 5, 1996 (61 FR 47012) EPA 
solicited information about fluids used in secondary loop systems. EPA 
believes that the use of secondary fluids offers potential 
environmental and safety benefits, and requested this information to 
determine whether it would be

[[Page 10702]]

appropriate to list secondary fluids formally under the SNAP program.
    EPA received no comments or information supporting the listing of 
these fluids under SNAP. In fact, one company provided information 
urging EPA to not list secondary fluids under SNAP. The company 
expressed concern that listing secondary fluids would discourage their 
use and would be extremely burdensome to the Agency and the regulated 
community. The company also indicated that EPA had vastly 
underestimated the number and variety of fluids used as secondary 
fluids.
    EPA has decided not to list secondary fluids under SNAP based on 
the above discussion and the lack of information or data suggesting 
that the use of these fluids in secondary loops poses any environmental 
or safety risk. EPA is also sensitive to the resources required for 
preparing submissions, reviews, and listings and to the disincentive 
that regulating them may create. However, EPA will keep abreast of new 
secondary fluids as they are introduced in the market, and may revisit 
this decision as appropriate. EPA will also include information about 
secondary fluids in outreach materials and encourage their use where 
the potential for environmental and safety benefits could be attained.
2. Acceptable Substitutes
    Note that EPA acceptability does not mean that a given substitute 
will work in a specific type of equipment within an end-use. 
Engineering expertise must be used to determine the appropriate use of 
these and any other substitutes. In addition, although some 
alternatives are listed for multiple refrigerants, they may not be 
appropriate for use in all equipment or under all conditions.
    a. HFC-236fa. HFC-236fa, when manufactured using any process that 
does not convert perfluoroisobutylene (PFIB) directly to HFC-236fa in a 
single step, is acceptable as a substitute for CFC-114 in industrial 
process refrigeration. HFC-236fa does not harm the ozone layer because 
it does not contain chlorine. HFC-236fa has an extremely high 100-year 
GWP of 6,300, but its lifetime is considerably shorter than that of 
perfluorocarbons. HFC-236fa is the only alternative submitted to date 
that is safe for the ozone layer, is low in toxicity, and can be a 
substitute in industrial process heat pumps. Note that the prohibition 
on venting, which applies to all substitute refrigerants, was mandated 
in section 608(c)(2) and took effect on November 15, 1995.
    EPA is aware of several methods for manufacturing HFC-236fa, 
including one that produces HFC-236fa directly from PFIB. PFIB is an 
extremely toxic substance that could pose risks in very small 
concentrations. Thus, EPA believes it is appropriate to distinguish 
among the different methods for producing HFC-236fa.

B. Foam Blowing

1. Acceptable Substitutes
    a. Polyisocyanurate and Polyurethane Rigid Boardstock Foam. (a) 
Saturated Light Hydrocarbons C3-C6. Saturated Light Hydrocarbons C3-C6 
are acceptable substitutes for HCFCs in polyisocyanurate and 
polyurethane rigid boardstock foam. Hydrocarbons are more flammable 
than CFCs and HCFCs and use would likely require additional investment 
to assure safe handling, use and shipping. These hydrocarbons have zero 
global warming potential (GWP) but are volatile organic compounds 
(VOCs) and must be controlled as such under Title I of the Clean Air 
Act. Relevant building codes and other safety requirements necessary 
for use of hydrocarbon-blown boardstock foam would have to be met.
    b. Polyurethane Rigid Appliance Foam. (a) HFC-134a. HFC-134a (or 
blends thereof) is an acceptable substitute for HCFCs in polyurethane 
rigid appliance foam. HFC-134a has low toxicity and is non-flammable. 
However, HFC-134a has relatively high thermal conductivity and has the 
potential to contribute to global warming.
    (b) Saturated light hydrocarbons C3-C6. Saturated light 
hydrocarbons C3-C6 (or blends thereof) are acceptable substitutes for 
HCFCs in polyurethane rigid appliance foam. Hydrocarbons are more 
flammable than CFCs and HCFCs and use would likely require additional 
investment to assure safe handling and use. These hydrocarbons have 
zero global warming potential (GWP) but are volatile organic compounds 
(VOCs) and must be controlled as such under Title I of the Clean Air 
Act.
    (c) Carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide (or blends thereof) is an 
acceptable alternative to HCFCs in polyurethane appliance foam.

III. Additional Information

    Contact the Stratospheric Protection Hotline at 1-800-296-1996, 
Monday-Friday, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (Eastern 
Standard Time).
    For more information on the Agency's process for administering the 
SNAP program or criteria for evaluation of substitutes, refer to the 
SNAP final rulemaking published in the Federal Register on March 18, 
1994 (59 FR 13044). Federal Register notices can be ordered from the 
Government Printing Office Order Desk (202) 783-3238; the citation is 
the date of publication. This Notice may also be obtained on the World 
Wide Web at http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/snap/snap.html.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 82

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, 
Air pollution control, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: February 28, 1997.
Mary D. Nichols,
Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation.

    Note: The following Appendix will not appear in the Code of 
Federal Regulations.

                        Appendix A: Summary of Acceptable Decisions, Refrigeration Sector                       
                                             [Acceptable Decisions]                                             
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              End-use                     Substitute                Decision                    Comments        
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CFC-114, Industrial Process         HFC-236fa............  Acceptable when                                      
 Refrigeration.                                             manufactured using any                              
                                                            process that does not                               
                                                            convert                                             
                                                            perfluoroisobutylene                                
                                                            (PFIB) directly to HFC-                             
                                                            236fa in a single step,                             
                                                            is acceptable as a                                  
                                                            substitute for CFC-114 in                           
                                                            industrial process                                  
                                                            refrigeration.                                      
                                                                                                                
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[[Page 10703]]

                                                                                                                
                                       Foam Sector--Acceptable Decisions                                        
                                                                                                                
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HCFCs Rigid polyurethane and        Saturated Light        Acceptable................  Zero ODP and GWP but must
 polyisocyanurate laminated          Hydrocarbons C3-C6.                                adhere to VOC           
 boardstock.                                                                            regulations. Flammable. 
HCFCs Rigid polyurethane appliance  HFC-134a.............  Acceptable................  Non-flammable and low    
                                                                                        toxicity but may        
                                                                                        contribute to global    
                                                                                        warming.                
  Saturated Light Hydrocarbons C3-  Acceptable...........  Zero ODP and GWP but must                            
 C6                                                         adhere to VOC                                       
                                                            regulations. Flammable..                            
                                    Carbon Dioxide.......  Acceptable................  High thermal             
                                                                                        conductivity.           
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[FR Doc. 97-5887 Filed 3-7-97; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P