[Federal Register Volume 65, Number 70 (Tuesday, April 11, 2000)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 19327-19329]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 00-8958]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 82

[FRL-6575-7]


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 Environmental Protection 
Agency's (EPA) Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program.

EFFECTIVE DATE: April 11, 2000.

ADDRESSES: Information relevant to this notice is contained in Air 
Docket A-91-42, Central Docket Section, South Conference Room 4, 
Environmental Protection Agency, 401 M Street, SW., Washington, DC 
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: Kelly Davis at (202) 564-2303 or fax 
(202) 565-2096, Environmental Protection Agency, Stratospheric 
Protection Division, Mail Code 6205J, Washington, DC 20460. Overnight 
or courier deliveries should be sent to the office location at 501 3rd 
Street, NW., Washington, DC 20001. The Stratospheric Protection Hotline 
can be reached at (800) 296-1996. Further information can be found at 
EPA's Ozone Depletion World Wide Web site at ``http://www.epa.gov/
ozone/title6/snap/''.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:   
I. Section 612 Program
    A. Statutory Requirements
    B. Regulatory History
II. Listing of Acceptable Substitutes
    A. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
    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 rulemaking (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; solvents 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 this original rule for the SNAP program, 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.

[[Page 19328]]

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, intended for use as a replacement for 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.
    A complete chronology of SNAP decisions and the appropriate Federal 
Register citations can be found at EPA's Ozone Depletion World Wide Web 
site at http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/snap/chron.html. This 
information is also available from the Air Docket (see ADDRESSES 
section above for contact information).

II. Listing of Acceptable Substitutes

    This section presents EPA's most recent acceptable listing 
decisions for substitutes in the refrigeration and foams sectors. For 
copies of the full list of SNAP decisions in all industrial sectors, 
contact the EPA Stratospheric Protection Hotline at (800) 296-1996.
    The sections below presents a detailed discussion of the substitute 
listing. The table summarizing today's listing decisions is in Appendix 
A. The comments contained in the table in Appendix A provide additional 
information, but are not legally binding under section 612 of the Clean 
Air Act. Thus, adherence to recommendations in the comments section of 
the table is not mandatory for use of 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 
strongly encourages users of acceptable substitutes to apply all 
comments to their use of these substitutes. In many instances, the 
comments simply refer to standardized 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

1. Acceptable Substitutes
    (a) Furan (C4F8O). Furan is acceptable as a 
substitute for CFC-114 in retrofits of existing uranium isotope 
separation processing equipment. Furan, a perfluorocarbon (PFC), does 
not contribute to stratospheric ozone depletion. The environmental 
characteristics of concern for this compound are its extremely high 
global warming potential and long atmospheric lifetime. Long 
atmospheric lifetimes make the warming effects of PFCs essentially 
irreversible. As a result, PFCs are included in the Climate Change 
Action Plan, which broadly instructs EPA to use section 612 of the CAA, 
as well as voluntary programs, to control emissions.
    Despite these concerns, EPA has listed several PFCs as acceptable 
replacements for CFC-114 in uranium isotope separation processing. PFCs 
have physical and thermodynamic properties that make them the only 
viable alternatives to CFC-114 in this end-use that have been 
identified as of this time. PFCs offer high dielectric resistance, 
noncorrosivity, thermal stability, materials compatibility, chemical 
inertness, low toxicity, and nonflammability.
    In this end-use, Furan may offer some advantages over other PFCs 
currently listed as acceptable. The most significant advantage may be 
that its vapor pressure is lower which results in lower leak rates and 
a reduced likelihood that new leaks will be created in the system. 
Another distinction between Furan and other alternatives examined 
relates to the relatively low molecular weight of the compound. The low 
molecular weight relative to the material being processed makes it easy 
to separate Furan from the process stream.
    EPA is listing Furan as acceptable in retrofit and existing uranium 
isotope separation system designs only. For new equipment designs in 
this end-use, EPA believes other alternatives may exist or may be 
developed to meet the needs of newly designed systems. Users of Furan 
should note that if other alternatives become available, EPA may 
determine to list Furan as unacceptable due to the availability of 
other suitable substitutes. If EPA took such action, EPA could also 
consider whether to grandfather existing uses. EPA's 1994 SNAP 
rulemaking specifies the criteria EPA would use in making a decision to 
grandfather existing uses (59 FR 13057; March 18, 1994).
    EPA urges industry to continue to search for other long-term 
alternatives for this end-use that do not have high GWPs and long 
atmospheric lifetimes. In cases where users must use PFCs, they should 
make every effort to minimize emissions. Users are also strongly 
encouraged to recover, recycle, and/or destroy these fluids during 
servicing and after the end of the equipment's useful life.

B. Foam Blowing

1. Acceptable Substitutes
    (a) Saturated Light Hydrocarbons C3-C6. Saturated Light 
Hydrocarbons C3-C6 are acceptable as a substitute for HCFC-141b in all 
foam end-uses, except as a HCFC replacement in spray foam applications. 
(Spray foam applications fall under the Rigid Polyurethane Spray and 
Commercial Refrigeration, and Sandwich Panels end-use.). Today's action 
does not affect previous decisions made by EPA to list specific 
hydrocarbon blowing agents as acceptable in spray foam. The 
acceptability of hydrocarbons as HCFC-141b replacements in spray foam 
applications will be determined on a product-by-product basis until 
standard industry practices/training become more established. C3-C6 
saturated light hydrocarbons are already acceptable substitutes for 
CFC-11 in all foam end-uses, and for HCFC-141b in some foam end-uses 
(rigid polyurethane and polyisocyanurate laminated boardstock, rigid 
polyurethane appliance, and polyurethane integral skin). Today's action 
expands the acceptable applications for C3-C6 saturated light 
hydrocarbons as substitutes for HCFCs in the following applications/
end-uses: rigid polyurethane commercial refrigeration and sandwich 
panels, rigid polyurethane slabstock and other foams, polystyrene 
extruded insulation boardstock and billet, phenolic insulation board 
and bunstock, and polyolefin. Hydrocarbon blowing agents have no ozone 
depletion potential, low global warming potentials, and are low in 
toxicity. However, these agents are flammable and should be handled 
with proper precautions.
    The flammability of hydrocarbon blowing agents are of particular 
concern in spray foam applications where a controlled factory 
environment is not possible. The potential for explosion or fire 
highlights the need for safety training. While training can not provide 
an absolute guarantee of safety, EPA believes that a comprehensive 
training program, if implemented properly, can adequately control risks 
associated with use of potentially flammable hydrocarbon-blown spray 
foam systems.
    In December 1999, EPA listed Exxsol Blowing Agents, a specific 
hydrocarbon pentane blend, as acceptable in all foam end-uses (64 FR 
68039) including spray foam. Draft training materials for spray foam 
applications were provided to EPA

[[Page 19329]]

and are available through the Air Docket (Docket A-91-42, Category IX-
B, Background Documents for Notice 11). EPA may list other hydrocarbon 
blowing agents as acceptable for spray foam applications if companies 
wishing to distribute or use hydrocarbons in spray foam applications 
establish safety training programs. Interested parties should contact 
EPA.

III. Additional Information

    Contact the Stratospheric Protection Hotline at (800) 296-1996, 
Monday-Friday, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (EST). 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). Notices and rulemakings under the SNAP program, as well 
as all EPA publications on protection of stratospheric ozone, are 
available from EPA's Ozone Depletion World Wide Web site at ``http://
www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/snap/'' and from the Stratospheric Protection 
Hotline whose number is listed above.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 82

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

    Dated: March 29, 2000.
Paul Stolpman,
Director, Office of Atmospheric Programs, Office of Air and Radiation.

                                   Appendix A: Summary of Acceptable Decisions
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             End-use                    Substitute             Decision                    Comments
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                                    Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Sector
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Uranium Isotope Separation         Furan for CFC-114...  Acceptable.........  EPA urges industry to continue to
 Processing (Retrofit).                                                        search for other long-term
                                                                               alternatives for this end-use
                                                                               that do not contain substances
                                                                               with such high GWPs and long
                                                                               atmospheric lifetimes. In cases
                                                                               where users must adopt PFCs, they
                                                                               should make every effort to
                                                                               minimize emissions. Users are
                                                                               also strongly encouraged to
                                                                               recover, recycle, and/or destroy
                                                                               these fluids during servicing and
                                                                               after the end of the equipment's
                                                                               useful life.
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                                                  Foam Blowing
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All foam end-uses, except as a     Saturated Light       Acceptable.........  Today's action does not affect
 HCFC-141b replacement in spray     Hydrocarbons C3-C6                         previous decisions made by EPA to
 foam applications (see comments).  for HCFC-141b.                             list specific hydrocarbon blowing
                                                                               agents as acceptable in spray
                                                                               foam. The acceptability of
                                                                               hydrocarbons as HCFC-141b
                                                                               replacements in spray foam
                                                                               applications will be determined
                                                                               on a product-by-product basis
                                                                               until standard industry practices/
                                                                               training become more established.
                                                                               EPA may list other hydrocarbon
                                                                               blowing agents as acceptable for
                                                                               spray foam applications if
                                                                               companies wishing to distribute
                                                                               or use hydrocarbons in spray foam
                                                                               applications establish safety
                                                                               training programs. Interested
                                                                               parties should contact EPA.
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[FR Doc. 00-8958 Filed 4-10-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-U