[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 140 (Monday, July 22, 2002)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 47703-47721]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-18176]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 82

[FRL-7247-5]
RIN 2060-AG12


Protection of Stratospheric Ozone; Listing of Substitutes in the 
Foam Sector

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This action lists acceptable and unacceptable substitutes for 
ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) in the foam blowing sector under the 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Significant New 
Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program. Today's action: Withdraws the 
proposed decision to list HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as unacceptable 
substitutes for existing users; lists HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as 
unacceptable substitutes for HCFC-141b in rigid polyurethane/
polyisocyanurate laminated boardstock, rigid polyurethane appliance 
foam, and rigid polyurethane spray foam applications; lists HCFC-22 and 
HCFC-142b as acceptable substitutes for HCFC-141b, with narrowed use 
limits (users must ascertain and document that other acceptable 
alternatives are not technically feasible) in commercial refrigeration 
and sandwich panel applications and in the rigid polyurethane slabstock 
and other foams end-use; and lists HCFC-124 as an unacceptable 
substitute in all foam end-uses. At this time, EPA is deferring final 
action on its proposed decision to list HCFC-141b as an unacceptable 
foam blowing agent.

EFFECTIVE DATE: August 21, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Information relevant to this rulemaking is available in 
Docket A-2000-18, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, OAR Docket and 
Information Center, 401 M Street, SW., Room M-1500, Mail Code 6102, 
Washington, DC 20460. The docket may be inspected between 8 a.m. and 
5:30 p.m. on weekdays. Telephone (202) 260-7548; fax (202) 260-4400. As 
provided in 40 CFR part 2, a reasonable fee may be charged for 
photocopying.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Cohen at phone: (202) 564-0135, 
fax

[[Page 47704]]

(202) 565-2155 or e-mail: cohen.jeff@epa.gov, U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., 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 contacted at (800) 296-1996. 
Additional information can also be obtained through EPA's Ozone 
Depletion World Wide Web site at ``http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/
index.html''.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SNAP implements section 612 of the Clean Air 
Act which requires EPA to evaluate substitutes for ODSs to reduce 
overall risk to human health and the environment. The intended effect 
of the SNAP program is to expedite movement away from ozone-depleting 
compounds while avoiding a shift into substitutes posing other 
environmental problems. On March 18, 1994, EPA promulgated the initial 
SNAP rule establishing the program for evaluating and regulating 
substitutes for ozone depleting chemicals (59 FR 13044), and has since 
issued decisions on the acceptability and unacceptability of a number 
of substitutes.
    In February 1999, EPA received a submission requesting review of 
the following foam blowing agents as substitutes for HCFC-141b: HFC-
134a, HCFC-22, HCFC-142b, HCFC-124, and an HCFC-22/142b blend. In 
response, EPA proposed the following two determinations: (1) listing 
HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as unacceptable substitutes for HCFC-141b in all 
foam end-uses; and (2) listing HCFC-124 as unacceptable in all foam 
end-uses (65 FR 42653). EPA did not address the use of HFC-134a in the 
proposal because HFC-134a was already listed as an acceptable 
substitute for HCFC-141b (64 FR 30410). In addition, EPA proposed to 
list HCFC-141b, -22, and -142b as unacceptable in all foam end-uses 
with existing users grandfathered until 2005.
    During the official comment period for the proposal, EPA received 
approximately 45 comments on the proposal (Docket A-2000-18). After the 
comment period closed, EPA acquired additional information pertaining 
to the availability and technical viability of alternatives, and the 
market size and potential economic impact of the proposal on various 
sub-sectors of the foam industry. This information was obtained through 
meetings held at the request of industry representatives, letters sent 
from members of Congress, letters sent directly to the Agency, and 
through EPA's own efforts to obtain additional information in order to 
fully address comments received during the comment period. On May 23, 
2001, the Agency published a Notice of Data Availability (NODA) making 
this new information available for public review and comment (66 FR 
28408). The comment period for the NODA ended on June 22, 2001.

Table of Contents

    This action is divided into six sections:

I. Section 612  Program
    A. Statutory Requirements
    B. Regulatory History
    C. Listing Decisions
II. Listing Decisions on Foam Sector Substitutes
    A. HCFC-141b
    B. HCFC-22, HCFC-142b and Blends Thereof
    C. HCFC-124
III. Response to Comments
    A. HCFC-141b
    B. Existing Use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b
    C. New Use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b
    D. HCFC-124
IV. Summary
V. Administrative Requirements
VI. Additional Information

I. Section 612  Program

A. Statutory Requirements

    Section 612 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) requires 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 substitute to or delete a substitute 
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 six 
months.
     90-day Notification--Section 612(e) directs 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 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 a rule (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 manufacturing; solvents cleaning; fire suppression and explosion 
protection; sterilants; aerosols; adhesives, coatings and inks; and 
tobacco expansion. These sectors comprise the principal industrial 
sectors that historically consumed large volumes of ozone-depleting 
compounds.
    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 chemical manufacturers, but may include 
importers, formulators, or end-users when they are responsible for 
introducing a substitute into commerce.

C. Listing Decisions

    Under section 612, the Agency has considerable discretion in the 
risk management decisions it can make

[[Page 47705]]

under the SNAP program. In the SNAP rule, the Agency identified four 
possible decision categories: acceptable; acceptable subject to use 
conditions; acceptable subject to narrowed use limits; and 
unacceptable. Fully acceptable substitutes, i.e., those with no 
restrictions, can be used for all applications within the relevant 
sector end-use. Conversely, it is illegal to replace an ODS with a 
substitute listed by SNAP as unacceptable.
    After reviewing a substitute, the Agency may make a determination 
that a substitute is acceptable only if certain conditions of use are 
met to minimize risk to human health and the environment. Such 
substitutes are described as ``acceptable subject to use conditions.'' 
Use of such substitutes without meeting associated use conditions 
renders these substitutes unacceptable and subjects the user to 
enforcement for violation of section 612 of the Clean Air Act and the 
SNAP regulations.
    Even though the Agency can restrict the use of a substitute based 
on the potential for adverse effects, it may be necessary to permit a 
narrowed range of use within a sector end-use because of the lack of 
alternatives for specialized applications. Users intending to adopt a 
substitute acceptable with narrowed use limits must ascertain that 
other acceptable alternatives are not technically feasible. Companies 
must document the results of their evaluation, and retain the results 
on file for the purpose of demonstrating compliance. This documentation 
must include descriptions of substitutes examined and rejected, 
processes or products in which the substitute is needed, reason for 
rejection of other alternatives, e.g., performance, technical or safety 
standards, and the anticipated date other substitutes will be available 
and projected time for switching to other available substitutes. The 
use of such substitutes in applications and end-uses which are not 
specified as acceptable in the narrowed use limit is unacceptable and 
violates section 612 of the CAA and the SNAP regulations.
    EPA does not believe that notice and comment rulemaking procedures 
are required to list alternatives as acceptable with no restrictions. 
Such listings do not impose any sanction, nor do they remove any prior 
license to use a substitute. Consequently, EPA adds substitutes to the 
list of acceptable alternatives without first requesting comment on new 
listings (59 FR 13044). Updates to the acceptable lists are published 
as separate Notices of Acceptability in the Federal Register.
    As described in the original March 18, 1994 rule for the SNAP 
program (59 FR 13044), EPA believes that notice-and-comment rulemaking 
is required to place any alternative on the list of prohibited 
substitutes, to list a substitute as acceptable only under certain use 
conditions or narrowed use limits, or to remove an alternative from 
either the list of prohibited or acceptable substitutes. In this final 
rule, EPA is issuing its decision on the acceptability of certain 
substitutes in the foams blowing sector. Today's rule finalizes and 
incorporates decisions that were proposed on July 11, 2000 at 65 FR 
42653 (referred to hereinafter as ``the proposal''). The section below 
presents a detailed discussion of the determinations that are made 
final in today's Final Rule.

II. Listing Decisions on Foam Sector Substitutes

    A major goal of the SNAP program is to facilitate the transition 
away from ozone-depleting substances. In 1994, EPA listed 
hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), such as HCFC-141b, -22, and -142b, as 
acceptable replacements for CFCs because the Agency believed that HCFCs 
provided a temporary bridge to alternatives that do not deplete 
stratospheric ozone (``ozone-friendly''). At that time, EPA believed 
that HCFCs were necessary transitional alternatives to CFC blowing 
agents in thermal insulating foam (59 FR 13083). Since then, HCFC-141b, 
-22, and -142b have become the most common foam blowing agents. HCFCs 
are slated for phaseout under the Clean Air Act and Montreal Protocol 
on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer,\1\ and the Agency has 
identified several alternatives to HCFC blowing agents, including 
hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, and other 
compounds as acceptable substitutes in the foam blowing sector. In some 
foam end-uses, these alternatives have been tested and implemented in 
finished products that are on the market. In others, foam manufacturers 
are still working to formulate, test, and implement the alternatives to 
HCFCs in manufacturing processes.
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    \1\ The phaseout schedule was established on December 10, 1993 
(58 FR 65018) as authorized under section 606 of the Clean Air Act. 
The phaseout for HCFCs currently used as foam blowing agents range 
from January 1, 2003 to January 1, 2010.
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    On July 11, 2000, EPA proposed action regarding the acceptability 
of certain HCFCs in the foam sector. EPA subsequently solicited 
additional comment in a Notice of Data Availability issued on May 23, 
2001. Today, EPA is making final decisions regarding the acceptability 
of those substitutes. EPA's decisions are based on the technical 
viability of alternatives, timing and availability of alternatives, the 
need for products that maintain thermal efficiency, structural 
integrity, and safety, and the potential economic implications. Table A 
summarizes today's final actions by foam sector end-use.

             Table A.--Today's Final Action by Foam End-Use
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                                   HCFC blowing
         Foam end-use              agent in use     Today's final action
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Rigid Polyurethane/             HCFC-141b........  (1) HCFC-141b: No
 Polyisocyanurate Laminated                         Action.
 Boardstock.                                       (2) HCFC-22, -142b, -
                                                    124: Unacceptable
                                                    Substitutes for HCFC-
                                                    141b.
 
Rigid Polyurethane Appliance    HCFC-141b (some    (1) HCFC-141b: No
 Foam.                           HCFC-22 and HCFC-  Action.
                                 142b).            (2) HCFC-22: Remains
                                                    an Acceptable
                                                    Substitute for CFCs.
                                                   (3) HCFC-22, -142b, -
                                                    124: Unacceptable
                                                    Substitutes for HCFC-
                                                    141b.
 
 
Rigid Polyurethane Spray Foam.  HCFC-141b........  (1) HCFC-141b: No
                                                    Action.
                                                   (2) HCFC-22, -142b:
                                                    Unacceptable
                                                    Substitutes for HCFC-
                                                    141b.
                                                   (3) HCFC-124:
                                                    Unacceptable
                                                    Substitute.
 
 

[[Page 47706]]

 
Rigid Polyurethane Commercial   HCFC-141b, -22,    (1) HCFC-141b: No
 Refrigeration and Sandwich      and HCFC-142b.     Action.
 Panels.                                           (2) HCFC-22, -142b:
                                                    Remain Acceptable
                                                    Substitutes for
                                                    CFCs.
                                                   (3) HCFC-22, -142b:
                                                    Acceptable
                                                    Substitutes for HCFC-
                                                    141b Subject to
                                                    Narrowed Use
                                                    Limits.*
                                                   (4) HCFC-124:
                                                    Unacceptable
                                                    Substitute.
 
 
 
Rigid Polyurethane Slabstock    HCFC-141b (some    (1) HCFC-141b: No
 and Other Foams.                HCFC-22).          Action.
                                                   (2) HCFC-22, -142b:
                                                    Acceptable
                                                    Substitutes for HCFC-
                                                    141b Subject to
                                                    Narrowed Use
                                                    Limits*.
                                                   (3) HCFC-124:
                                                    Unacceptable
                                                    Substitute.
 
 
Extruded Polystyrene..........  HCFC-142b (some    (1) HCFC-142b, -22:
                                 HCFC-22).          Remain Acceptable
                                                    Substitutes for
                                                    CFCs.
                                                   (2) HCFC-124:
                                                    Unacceptable
                                                    Substitute.
 
Polyolefin....................  HCFC-142b........  (1) HCFC-142b:
                                                    Remains an
                                                    Acceptable
                                                    Substitute for CFCs.
                                                   (2) HCFC-124:
                                                    Unacceptable
                                                    Substitute.
 
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*Users must maintain records outlining technical/economic constraints
  that prevent switching from HCFC-141b to non-ozone-depleting
  alternatives.

A. HCFC-141b

Summary of Proposal
    On March 18, 1994, EPA listed HCFC-141b as an acceptable substitute 
for CFCs in various foam end-uses. A number of foam manufacturers 
switched from CFC-11 and CFC-113 to HCFC-141b. Since that time, EPA has 
listed several non-ozone-depleting alternatives as acceptable 
replacements for HCFC-141b. In the July 11, 2000 proposal, EPA proposed 
to change its previous decision of acceptability such that use of HCFC-
141b would be unacceptable for foam manufacture (65 FR 42653). However, 
for existing users, such use would be grandfathered until January 2005 
(i.e., existing users could continue to use HCFC-141b as a foam blowing 
agent until January 2005). The Agency believed that this time period 
was sufficient for these end-users to transition to non-ozone-depleting 
alternative foam blowing agents, taking into consideration the 
impending production phaseout of HCFC-141b effective January 1, 2003.
Summary of Final Action
    EPA is deferring its decision on whether to list HCFC-141b as an 
unacceptable substitute for CFCs in foam blowing end uses. This 
decision does not in any way affect the January 1, 2003 phaseout 
deadline for the production and import of HCFC-141b, previously 
established on December 10, 1993 (58 FR 65018), to reduce U.S. HCFC 
consumption in accordance with section 606 of the Clean Air Act and the 
Montreal Protocol.
    After the comment period for the July 11, 2000 proposal closed 
September 11, 2000, EPA acquired additional information pertaining to 
the availability and technical viability of alternatives and the market 
size and economic impact of the proposal on various industries. This 
information was obtained through meetings held at the request of 
industry representatives, letters sent through congressional 
representatives, letters sent directly to the Agency, and through EPA's 
own efforts to obtain additional information in order to fully address 
comments received during the comment period. The Agency published a 
Notice of Data Availability (NODA) on May 23, 2001 making the 
additional information pertaining to the foam industry available for 
public comment (66 FR 28408). As part of the proposed HCFC allowance 
allocation rulemaking, the Agency has also received comments and 
information pertaining to the use and availability of HCFCs and 
alternatives in the foam industry (66 FR 38064). The proposed HCFC 
allowance system is intended to control the U.S. production and 
consumption of class II controlled substances, the 
hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) in accordance with U.S. obligations 
under the Montreal Protocol.
    Several commenters on the proposed SNAP rule suggested that EPA 
should not list HCFC-141b as unacceptable for existing users because of 
a lack of feasible alternatives. In fact, these commenters, as well as 
commenters on the proposed HCFC allocation rule, requested that the 
Agency extend the January 1, 2003 phaseout deadline for production of 
HCFC-141b for use in specific applications such as spray foam. As part 
of the separate regulatory program governing HCFC production and 
allocations under sections 605 and 606 of the Clean Air Act (66 FR 
38081), the Agency will address the comments pertaining to limited, 
continued production of HCFC-141b for use in applications where 
feasible alternatives are not yet fully developed and available. A 
final HCFC allocation rule is expected to be published by the fall of 
2002. More detailed and up-to-date information on this issue can be 
found on EPA's Ozone Depletion World Wide Web site at http://
www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/phaseout/hcfc141b.html.
    Because a decision on exempted HCFC-141b production will have 
implications for continued use of HCFC-141b in the foam industry, we 
are deferring a final decision on the use of HCFC-141b. By deferring, 
EPA is allowing continued use of stockpiled HCFC-141b (produced prior 
to January 1, 2003) and use of limited amounts of HCFC-141b that may be 
produced after January 1, 2003 to address technical constraints of some 
existing HCFC-141b users.

B. HCFC-22, HCFC-142b and Blends Thereof

Summary of Proposal
    In the July 11, 2000 proposal, EPA proposed to list HCFC-22, HCFC-
142b and blends thereof as unacceptable in all foam end-uses; existing 
use of HCFC-22/HCFC-142b would have been grandfathered until January 1, 
2005. On

[[Page 47707]]

March 18, 1994, EPA listed these HCFCs as acceptable substitutes for 
CFC-11, -12, -113, and -114 in various foam end-uses. A number of foam 
manufacturers switched from those CFCs to HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as 
transitional blowing agents. Since that time, EPA has listed several 
non-ozone-depleting substitutes as acceptable replacements for HCFCs. 
Under the proposal, companies not currently using HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b 
would be prohibited from switching to HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b while 
existing users of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b could continue to use HCFC-22 
and HCFC-142b as foam blowing agents, but only until January 1, 2005. 
The Agency believed that time period was sufficient time for existing 
users to transition from HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b to non-ozone depleting 
alternative foam blowing agents.
Summary of Final Action
    Based on comments received on the proposal and NODA, the Agency is 
taking the following final actions today: (1) Withdrawing its proposed 
decision to list HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as unacceptable substitutes for 
CFCs (i.e., existing users of these chemicals can continue use); (2) 
listing HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as unacceptable substitutes for HCFC-141b 
in rigid polyurethane/ polyisocyanurate laminated boardstock, rigid 
polyurethane appliance, and rigid polyurethane spray foam applications; 
and (3) listing HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as acceptable substitutes, with 
narrowed use limits, for HCFC-141b in commercial refrigeration, 
sandwich panels, and rigid polyurethane slabstock and other foams 
applications.
    EPA is withdrawing the proposal to restrict existing use of HCFC-22 
and HCFC-142b as substitutes for CFCs because the Agency believes there 
are technical and economic constraints in switching to ozone-friendly 
alternatives for these users within the next several years. Foam 
manufacturers who are existing users of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b can 
continue to use these HCFCs but only under the conditions described 
here. Existing use is defined as current use of HCFC-22 and/or HCFC-
142b to manufacture actual foam products that are sold into commercial 
markets and meet all relevant code approvals, where required, prior to 
the date of publication of this final rulemaking. Manufacturers who 
have conducted trials or limited production runs are not considered 
existing users. Foam manufacturers who use HCFC-141b in blends with 
HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b may continue to use the current percentage by 
weight of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b based on the overall formulation. 
However, in those end-uses identified in today's action where 
substitution of HCFC-141b with HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b is unacceptable 
(rigid polyurethane/polyisocyanurate laminated boardstock, rigid 
polyurethane appliance, and rigid polyurethane spray foam 
applications), foam manufacturers may not replace HCFC-141b in current 
formulations with HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b. In these end-uses, HCFC-141b 
can only be replaced by SNAP approved alternatives. For example, if a 
formulation contains 8% HCFC-141b (by weight) and 2% HCFC-22 (by 
weight), the user cannot increase the total content of HCFC-22 in the 
formulation when replacing HCFC-141b with other SNAP approved 
alternatives. In addition to combined use of HCFC-141b and HCFC-22 in 
blends, EPA recognizes that a manufacturer may run separate production 
lines, some with HCFC-141b and some with HCFC-22, or may have multiple 
production facilities. Although such a manufacturer is an existing user 
of HCFC-22/HCFC-142b for some production lines, he may not convert the 
HCFC-141b lines or facilities, in whole or part, to HCFC-22 or HCFC-
142b, except for those end-uses in which such substitution is deemed 
acceptable, subject to narrowed use limits (e.g., commercial 
refrigeration, sandwich panels, and rigid polyurethane slabstock). In 
those end-uses where substitution of HCFC-141b with HCFC-22 or HCFC-
142b is deemed unacceptable, SNAP approved alternatives for HCFC-141b 
must be used in those lines or facilities.
    In today's action, EPA is also addressing use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-
142b as replacements for HCFC-141b. EPA is finalizing its proposed 
determination that HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b are unacceptable as 
replacements for HCFC-141b in polyurethane boardstock and spray foam, 
and appliance end-uses; as of the effective date of this rule, these 
HCFCs cannot be used as substitute foam blowing agents for HCFC-141b. 
EPA believes that polyurethane boardstock, spray foam, and appliance 
manufacturers have identified and, in many cases, implemented viable 
non-ozone-depleting alternatives to HCFC-141b.
    For commercial refrigeration and sandwich panel applications, and 
the polyurethane slabstock and other foams end-use, EPA is listing 
HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b, with narrowed use limits, as acceptable 
replacements for HCFC-141b. These end-uses are comprised of a wide 
range of diverse applications with unique technical considerations and 
fragmented HCFC use. EPA is strongly opposed to listing HCFCs as 
acceptable where non-ozone-depleting alternatives are available. 
However, EPA believes that ozone-friendly alternatives to HCFC-141b 
have not yet been fully developed and implemented across the spectrum 
of applications within these end-uses. In these situations, EPA 
believes switching to HCFC-22 and/or HCFC-142b as a bridge to non-
ozone-depleting alternatives presents a lower risk than continued use 
of HCFC-141b.
    In prior SNAP program regulations, substitutes have been permitted 
under a narrowed range of use within a sector end-use because of the 
lack of alternatives for specialized applications. The narrowed use 
limit means that users intending to adopt HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b, and 
blends thereof in the commercial refrigeration and sandwich panels, and 
the ``slabstock and other foams'' end-uses, must ascertain that other 
acceptable alternatives are not technically feasible. These narrowed 
use requirements are summarized in a table at the end of this document 
and will be incorporated into Appendix J, Subpart G of the Code of 
Federal Regulations (CFR) at 40 CFR part 82. Under these provisions, 
companies must document the results of their evaluation, and retain the 
results on file for the purpose of demonstrating compliance. This 
documentation must include descriptions of substitutes examined and 
rejected, processes or products in which the substitute is needed, 
reason for rejection of other alternatives, e.g., performance, 
technical or safety standards, and the anticipated date other 
substitutes will be available and projected time for switching to other 
available substitutes. The use of HCFC-22, HCFC-142b, and blends 
thereof in applications which are not specified as acceptable in the 
narrowed use limit is considered unacceptable and violates section 612 
of the CAA and the SNAP regulations. In addition, foam manufacturers 
should be aware that EPA is continuing to review the commercial 
refrigeration, and sandwich panels and slabstock and other foams end-
uses to determine the progress of non-ozone-depleting alternatives. As 
non-ozone-depleting alternatives become more widely available, the 
Agency will reevaluate the acceptability of HCFCs in these end-uses. 
Therefore, foam manufacturers within these applications that are using 
HCFCs should begin using non-ozone-depleting alternatives as soon as 
they are available in anticipation of future EPA action restricting the 
use of HCFCs.

[[Page 47708]]

C. HCFC-124

Summary of Proposal
    In the July 11, 2000 proposal, EPA proposed to list HCFC-124 as 
unacceptable in all foam end-uses. Because HCFC-124 has never been 
listed as an acceptable foam blowing substitute for CFCs, EPA believed 
there were no current users of the chemical and, therefore, did not 
address existing users separately.
Summary of Final Action
    Today's final rule lists HCFC-124 as unacceptable in all foam end-
uses. Although HCFC-124 has a lower ODP than HCFC-141b, it was never 
submitted as a replacement for CFCs and therefore has never been 
commercialized for use as a blowing agent in the U.S. EPA is not aware 
of any uses of HCFC-124 as a foam blowing agent anywhere in the world. 
Comments on the proposal indicate that HCFC-124 has been tested on a 
limited scale as a foam blowing agent for rigid polyurethane foam only 
in the appliance industry. EPA believes that introduction of an HCFC 
into the foams industry to replace an existing HCFC is not necessary or 
appropriate in light of the ability of the appliance industry to 
convert directly from HCFC-141b to technically viable zero-ODP foam 
blowing alternatives.

III. Response to Comments

A. HCFC-141b

    Because EPA is not taking final action today on its proposed 
decision to list HCFC-141b as unacceptable, the Agency is not 
responding to comments at this time. However, EPA would like to note 
the following issues raised in comments: (1) Import of pre-blended 
HCFC-141b polyurethane systems; and (2) use of stockpiled HCFC-141b. 
Commenters' concerns are summarized below along with EPA's preliminary 
views on these issues and information on the Agency's regulatory 
authority to address them.
    Some commenters expressed concern that there was a potential for 
HCFC-141b, produced in the U.S. after the production ban for domestic 
use but subsequently exported from the U.S., to be re-imported in pre-
blended polyurethane systems and used to produce foam in the U.S. 
Polyurethane foam systems generally consist of two components. One 
contains polyols, surfactants, blowing agents and other chemicals, the 
other contains isocyanate. These components are mixed on site to 
produce foam. Information specifically addressing or referencing these 
issues can be found in Air Docket A-2000-18 reference numbers IV-E-7, 
IV-D-80, IV-D-93, and IV-D-96. Currently there are no regulations 
prohibiting insulating foam products containing HCFC-141b from being 
sold in the U.S. after January 1, 2003.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Foam products which contain or are manufactured with HCFCs 
are currently banned from sale or distribution into interstate 
commerce under section 610 of the Clean Air Act. However, section 
610 exempts foam insulation from this ban. Foam insulation products 
are defined as product containing or consisting of the following 
closed cell rigid foam types: polyurethane, polystrene boardstock, 
phenolic, and polyethylene foam used for pipe insulation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    These comments are outside the scope of the present rulemaking. 
However, EPA will continue to monitor the situation closely and collect 
information in order to decide if any action is necessary and if so, 
the appropriate timing of such action. Available information does not 
now indicate the extent to which import of HCFC-141b systems may occur. 
However, if this activity becomes widespread and compromises or 
undermines the intent of the U.S. HCFC-141b phaseout, disadvantaging 
companies that have made good faith investments in developing and 
implementing alternative technologies, EPA could consider establishing 
a SNAP use restriction under section 612 of the Clean Air Act or other 
appropriate actions; expanding the definition of ``controlled product'' 
or ``bulk substance'' under the U.S. phaseout regulations at 40 CFR 
part 82 to specifically address polyurethane pre-polymers; and/or 
establishing a labeling requirement under section 611 of the Clean Air 
Act for foams blown with HCFC-141b and any products containing such 
foam. These labels would inform the public that these products contain 
HCFC-141b, an ozone-depleting chemical that destroys stratospheric 
ozone. Other possible actions that could occur if the import of pre-
blended HCFC-141b systems is seen to be compromising the U.S. phaseout 
of HCFC-141b include: (1) Section 610 of the Clean Air Act could be 
amended to remove the exemption for foam insulation products which 
would allow EPA to restrict the sale and distribution of products 
containing HCFC-141b; and (2) international discussions under the 
Montreal Protocol might result in a re-classification of polyurethane 
pre-polymers to include all pre-blended polyurethane systems as 
controlled bulk substances subject to the import restrictions or other 
such changes that could prevent import of pre-blended polyurethane 
systems.
    Another issue identified in the NODA was the potential for users to 
stockpile large enough quantities to delay the transition from HCFC-
141b to non-ozone-depleting chemicals. Comments in the docket show that 
there are conflicting views on the amount of HCFC-141b that could be 
stockpiled for use after January 1, 2003. Some comments stated that the 
amount of HCFC-141b that could be stockpiled was limited by production 
and storage capacity and those limitations would prevent use of HCFC-
141b after 2005 regardless of EPA's proposed unacceptability listing. 
Opposing this position, a commenter estimated that enough HCFC-141b 
could be collected, stockpiled, and sold to last more than 5 years past 
the production phaseout date.
    The Agency does not have evidence that use of stockpiled HCFC-141b 
will significantly impede the transition away from HCFC-141b after the 
production phaseout. As the phaseout nears and access to HCFC-141b 
becomes more limited, the Agency believes that greater numbers of HCFC-
141b users who have not yet transitioned to alternatives will do so. 
EPA encourages foam manufacturers to follow the lead of the 
polyisocyanurate boardstock industry, certain appliance manufacturers, 
and other foam manufacturers that are undertaking commendable efforts 
to transition to ozone-friendly alternatives. EPA will continue to 
monitor the situation closely and collect information in order to 
decide if any action is necessary and if so, the appropriate timing. 
The Agency may address this issue in more detail at the time we address 
the question of limited, continued production of HCFC-141b as part of 
the HCFC allocation rulemaking.

B. Existing Use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b

    In today's action, EPA is withdrawing its proposal to list HCFC-22 
and HCFC-142b as unacceptable substitutes for CFCs. Comments on the 
July 11, 2000 proposal and May 23, 2001 NODA regarding existing use of 
HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b fall under the following four summarized 
statements which are addressed in detail below:
    1. Alternatives to HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b have not been fully 
developed for U.S. foam markets and, therefore, they are not 
technically viable for existing users of these chemicals.
    2. There would be a significant impact on small businesses if EPA 
finalized its proposed action to list HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as 
unacceptable for existing users.

[[Page 47709]]

    3. EPA should not de-list chemicals without new evidence suggesting 
that these chemicals are more harmful than previously known or that 
eliminating their use would benefit the environment.
    4. EPA should not use the SNAP program to accelerate the phaseout 
of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b.
1. Technical Viability of Alternatives
    EPA's proposal was based on published and other publicly available 
information indicating that technically viable alternatives to HCFC-22 
and HCFC-142b are available in all foam end-uses. Although some 
commenters agreed with EPA and supported the proposed decision, many 
commenters argued that EPA had insufficient data and that technically 
viable alternatives are not available. Commenters who disagreed with 
EPA recommended that EPA withdraw portions of the proposal that would 
affect existing users of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b or extend the 
grandfathering period, for example, to 2008 instead of 2005. Based on 
these comments, EPA decided to collect more information in those foam 
sectors where publicly available information and published literature 
are limited. This additional information was made available for public 
review in a May 23, 2001 Notice of Data Availability (NODA) (66 FR 
28408). The NODA included a technical analysis of comments received 
from the extruded polystyrene industry and a review of challenges 
facing the polyurethane spray foam industry and other systems house 
based applications. Both of these reports can be found in Docket A-
2000-18, reference number IV-D-77 and IV-D-78, respectively.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Based on EPA's information collection effort and public 
comments submitted in response to the NODA, EPA estimates that 
approximately 160 million pounds of HCFCs are used in the foam 
sector. HCFC-22 makes up only 5% of the total HCFC use in the foam 
sector on a weight basis. Approximately half of that is in the 
polyurethane appliance sector. The remaining HCFC-22 use is in 
polyurethane commercial refrigeration, sandwich panel and other 
polyurethane applications with some minor use of HCFC-22 in the 
polystyrene industry. Nearly 95% of the approximately 30 million 
pounds of HCFC-142b is used by the polystyrene industry. The 
remaining HCFC-142b use is scattered amongst polyurethane appliance, 
commercial refirgeration, one-component, and sandwich panel 
applications. Some HCFC-142b is also used to produce polyethylene 
foam.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The polystyrene industry represents the largest foam end-use of 
HCFC-142b, with some minor HCFC-22 use. Key concerns raised during the 
comment periods relate to the technical feasibility of alternatives 
coupled with the cost and timing of the transition to non-ozone 
depleting chemicals. Polystyrene manufacturers commented that while 
zero-ODP alternatives have been implemented in Europe, conversion to 
non-HCFC alternatives in the U.S. would require more than 5 years of 
research and development due to differences in building codes and 
product requirements. The major challenges facing the polystyrene 
industry relate to balancing density and thickness (i.e., insulation 
value) of the foam and compliance with safety requirements. For 
example, current building codes limit the use of polystyrene to either 
thin, high density foam or thicker, low density foam. Any changes that 
result in higher density or lower R-value (thicker) foam would result 
in products that cannot meet current building codes. Existing building 
codes are not expected to be revised in the near future and EPA agrees 
with comments indicating that it could take longer than 4 years to 
finalize the development of new codes to account for increased ``fire 
loads'' (i.e., denser or thicker foam) that the polystyrene industry 
indicates would result from switching to non-HCFC alternatives.
    The technical analysis of comments received from the extruded 
polystyrene industry, Air Docket A-2000-18, IV-D-77, shows that the 
polystyrene industry needs to maximize its efforts between now and 2010 
in order to transition to alternatives in time for the HCFC-22/HCFC-
142b production phaseout. EPA believes that research and development to 
modify existing blowing agent options and/or building codes in the 
U.S., and to also conduct trials and plant modifications, could take up 
to 8 years. EPA urges polystyrene manufacturers to examine research and 
development applied in Europe to further develop non-HCFC blowing agent 
options in order to achieve foam densities and insulation values that 
will meet building codes and be marketable in the U.S. at the earliest 
possible date. The Agency will continue to monitor the development of 
alternatives in the polystyrene sector and work with this industry to 
establish a time-frame for transitioning away from HCFCs.
    As indicated in footnote 3 above, end-uses other than polystyrene 
account for a small percentage of the total existing HCFC-22 and HCFC-
142b use in the foam industry. HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b are used in 
polyurethane appliance, commercial refrigeration, sandwich panels, and 
slabstock and other foam end-uses. Many comments on the July 11, 2000 
proposal stated that EPA had not identified all entities potentially 
affected by the proposed HCFC-22/HCFC-142b restrictions or failed to 
assess the impact of the proposal on these users, many of which are 
small businesses. In response to comments, EPA expanded its effort to 
identify users of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b and analyze the current status 
of alternatives in these applications. EPA reviewed comments and hired 
a foam industry expert to collect information from spray polyurethane 
foam representatives and systems house representatives on the viability 
of alternatives in each application that could be identified. Due to 
the fragmentation of the industry, it was difficult to identify 
specific applications, blowing agents used, and the viability of 
alternatives for each end-user.
    In developing the proposed rule, based on information available to 
the Agency at the time, we concluded that non-ozone-depleting chemicals 
which reduce the risk to human health and the environment were 
available as replacements, and that existing users of HCFC-22 and HCFC-
142b could switch to these alternatives. Based on comments and EPA's 
data collection efforts, the Agency learned that HCFC-22/HCFC-142b 
alternatives have been identified and developed by some polyurethane 
foam manufacturers. However, due to unique technical considerations for 
many HCFC-22/HCFC-142b users in the polyurethane industry, EPA believes 
that technically viable alternatives cannot be implemented across the 
spectrum of applications at this time. Consequently, EPA believes that 
for many polyurethane manufacturers that have been relying on HCFC-22 
and HCFC-142b, switching to alternatives by 2005 would be difficult and 
prohibitively costly.
    Thus, because of the infeasibility in the near term of alternatives 
for existing users in the polystyrene industry and the availability and 
technical viability of alternatives in other end-uses, EPA is 
withdrawing the proposed restriction on HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b for 
existing users. However, EPA believes that there are certain 
polyurethane applications, particularly non-insulating applications, 
that may currently have technically viable alternatives that are 
economically feasible. EPA is conducting a complete review of the 
spray, commercial refrigeration, and sandwich panels and slabstock and 
other foams end-uses to determine the current status of specific 
applications and products within these end-uses and the progress being 
made to implement non-ozone-depleting alternatives. As non-ozone-
depleting alternatives become more widely available and implemented, 
the Agency

[[Page 47710]]

plans to reevaluate the acceptability of HCFCs in these end-uses. In 
order to anticipate future EPA action restricting the use of HCFCs, EPA 
urges foam manufacturers to implement non-ozone-depleting alternatives 
as soon as they are available and economically feasible.
2. Small Business Impacts
    At the time of the proposal, EPA did not believe that a significant 
number of small entities would be affected by the proposed action. 
However, EPA acknowledged that this decision would reverse a prior 
acceptability determination and current users could be disadvantaged if 
forced to quickly switch to other substitutes. For that reason, the 
Agency proposed to grandfather existing users of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b 
until January 1, 2005. Through comments to the proposal, it came to the 
Agency's attention that we were not aware of some users of these HCFCs. 
Commenters argued that the flexibility EPA proposed to allow individual 
users to demonstrate need for continued use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b 
beyond 2005 was not appropriate because a case-by-case review to 
provide extensions to the grandfathering period would create a new SNAP 
process that would place an undue burden on many small businesses. In 
reaction to these comments, EPA expanded its effort to identify 
existing users of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b that would be affected if EPA 
made final a decision to make HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b unacceptable for 
existing users. As discussed above, on May 23, 2001, EPA published a 
NODA that identified many of the existing HCFC-22/HCFC-142b users in 
the foam industry as small businesses (66 FR 28408). Because EPA is 
withdrawing the proposed action, there will be no effect on small 
businesses that are existing users of HCFC-22 and/or HCFC-142b. If the 
Agency takes future action to restrict the use of HCFCs based on its 
review of commercial refrigeration, and sandwich panels and slabstock 
and other foams end-uses, small business impacts will be fully 
considered prior to an EPA proposal.
3. Environmental Benefit
    Commenters argued that the environmental benefit of the proposal 
had not been quantified and that an analysis would have shown minimal 
benefit. Specifically, these commenters claimed that a decision to list 
HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as unacceptable would not significantly reduce 
damage to the ozone layer and that EPA had not shown how the proposal 
would reduce overall risks to human health and the environment. One 
commenter stated that ``any phaseout of HCFCs in the U.S. foam-blowing 
sector would have a de minimis impact on the recovery of the 
stratospheric ozone layer.''
    Under the SNAP program, EPA does not rank various risk factors 
(e.g., toxicity, flammability, ozone depletion potential) for each 
alternative being considered. Instead, EPA considers all relevant 
health and environmental information in a comparative framework. 
Today's decision is to list HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as unacceptable 
substitutes for HCFC-141b in certain applications because of the 
availability of non-ozone depleting alternatives. Because of the risks 
they pose to the stratospheric ozone layer, HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b are 
being phased out of production under the provisions of the Montreal 
Protocol and the Clean Air Act. Under SNAP, EPA's mandate is to 
determine that it is ``unlawful'' to replace an ODS with a substitute 
where other alternatives are available and would reduce the overall 
risk to human health and the environment. EPA's decision to list HCFC-
22 and HCFC-142b as unacceptable in specific end-uses is based on the 
conclusion that other non-ODS substitutes are available and, 
considering all risk factors, create less overall risk to human health 
and the environment.
    Because of technical constraints faced by existing users of HCFC-22 
and HCFC-142b, EPA is withdrawing the proposal affecting existing 
users. However, EPA maintains that use of these chemicals continues to 
destroy the ozone layer (estimates gathered by EPA and provided in the 
NODA show that 35 million pounds of HCFC-142b and HCFC-22 are used 
annually) and that there will be an environmental benefit to 
transitioning from ODSs as soon as technically viable, energy efficient 
alternatives are fully developed and available. EPA encourages 
companies to continue efforts to develop and implement these 
alternatives.
4. Accelerated Phaseout
    Many commenters viewed EPA's proposed listing decision for HCFC-22 
and HCFC-142b as an attempt to accelerate the phaseout of these HCFCs. 
Many commenters argued that prohibiting use of HCFCs under SNAP would 
amount to an acceleration of the established January 1, 2010 production 
phase-out of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b established under section 605 of the 
Clean Air Act (CAA), and that such action is not authorized under the 
SNAP program (section 612).
    EPA recognizes that some foam manufacturers viewed the 2010 
production phaseout of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as equivalent to an end-
of-use date because after that time supplies of these chemicals will 
significantly diminish. However, the 2010 deadline only relates to 
consumption of HCFCs as defined under section 601 of the CAA 
(consumption = production + import-exports). SNAP determinations under 
section 612 of the CAA do not affect consumption, defined under section 
605 of the CAA. If finalized, EPA's determination would have only 
restricted use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b in the foam sector. 
Nevertheless, this issue is moot because under today's action, existing 
users of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b can continue using these chemicals 
beyond January 1, 2005.
    EPA also received comments that SNAP should not be used in order to 
reduce consumption of ozone depleting chemicals. Use restrictions under 
SNAP may have the effect of reducing the production and import of 
ozone-depleting substances. However, the SNAP program does not directly 
regulate or constrain HCFC consumption. Compliance with HCFC 
consumption requirements for the U.S., specified in the Montreal 
Protocol and Clean Air Act, are addressed in separate regulatory 
actions by the Agency. In the proposal, EPA was following its mandate 
to review ODS alternatives and make determinations on their 
acceptability in order to ensure that substitutes for ODSs that are 
determined acceptable present a lower risk to human health and the 
environment. EPA's basis for the proposal was that the Agency believed 
technically and economically viable non-ozone depleting alternatives 
were available. Because the goal of the SNAP program is to facilitate 
an expeditious movement to these alternatives, EPA believed its 
proposed action was appropriate at the time. However, as provided 
above, EPA is withdrawing its proposed decision because EPA now 
believes that technically feasible alternatives are not widely 
available for polystyrene manufacturers. Additional information will be 
collected on the viability and timing of non-ozone-depleting 
alternatives for polyurethane manufacturers currently using HCFC-22 
and/or HCFC-142b.

C. New Use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b

    A major objective of the SNAP program is to facilitate the 
transition from ozone-depleting chemicals by promoting the use of 
substitutes which present a lower risk to human health

[[Page 47711]]

and the environment (40 CFR 82.170(a)). Today's rule lists HCFC-22 and 
HCFC-142b as unacceptable replacements for HCFC-141b in rigid 
polyurethane and polyisocyanurate boardstock, and polyurethane 
appliance and spray foam applications. EPA has concluded based on the 
available information that technically viable, non-ozone depleting 
(zero-ODP) alternatives are currently or potentially available for 
HCFC-141b for these end-uses. The Agency believes that the use of HCFC-
22 and HCFC-142b in applications where non-ozone depleting chemicals 
are available is unnecessary and presents greater risk to human health 
and the environment by contributing to the continued depletion of the 
ozone layer.
    In the boardstock and appliance foam sectors, many companies have 
already switched to non-ozone-depleting alternatives or plan to do so 
in the near future. In the spray foam sector, alternatives other than 
HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b have been identified as eventual replacements for 
HCFC-141b. At this point, however, the spray foam industry believes 
that additional time is needed to test and implement any alternatives 
to HCFC-141b. The Agency is currently reviewing a request that limited 
quantities of HCFC-141b be made available for spray foam applications 
beyond the January 1, 2003 phaseout deadline. EPA intends to issue a 
proposed determination pertaining to this request later this year as 
part of the HCFC allocation rulemaking.
    Today's rule lists HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as acceptable 
replacements, under narrowed use limits, for HCFC-141b in commercial 
refrigeration, sandwich panels, and slabstock and other foams 
applications. Users intending to adopt HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b, and blends 
thererof in the commercial refrigeration and sandwich panels, and the 
``slabstock and other foams'' end-uses, must ascertain and document 
that other acceptable alternatives are not technically feasible. EPA 
believes that at this time, technically viable, non-ozone depleting 
(zero-ODP) alternatives to HCFC-141b are not fully developed for all 
applications within these end-uses. With the production phaseout of 
HCFC-141b approaching, several comments indicated that many companies 
are aggressively testing non-ozone-depleting alternatives and plan to 
implement them in the near future. However, these end-uses are 
comprised of extremely diverse products and non-ozone-depleting 
alternatives may not be fully developed in every unique application 
within these end-uses. Additionally, these end-uses comprise thousands 
of small businesses and EPA believes that, in this situation, it is 
appropriate to allow the narrowed use of HCFC-22 and/or HCFC-142b where 
necessary. Although EPA encourages continued efforts to implement non-
ozone-depleting alternatives, the Agency feels that allowing narrowed 
use of HCFC-22 and/or HCFC-142b will facilitate the impending HCFC-141b 
transition by providing flexibility to small businesses who have not 
yet successfully identified suitable alternatives.
    Comments on the July 11, 2000 proposal and May 23, 2001 NODA 
regarding new use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as replacements for HCFC-
141b indicate opposing views on the following four major issues which 
are addressed in detail below:

1. Technical viability of alternatives to HCFC-141b
2. Availability of alternatives to HCFC-141b
3. Economic/small business impacts
4. EPA's review process
1. Technical Viability of Alternatives
    EPA's proposal was based on our understanding that technically 
feasible alternatives are available in all foam sectors. However, some 
comments suggested that feasible alternatives were not available for 
all end-uses and that EPA should have proposed acceptability 
determinations by end-use rather than across the entire foam sector. 
EPA's SNAP program has defined ten major end-uses in the foam sector. 
Of these ten end-uses, manufacturers in the following four use HCFC-
141b:\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ HCFC-141B is not used to manufacture polystyrene foam.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Rigid Polyurethane and Polyisocyanurate Laminated 
Boardstock
     Rigid Polyurethane Appliance
     Rigid Polyurethane Spray, Commercial Refrigeration, and 
Sandwich Panels
     Rigid Polyurethane Slabstock and Other Foams
    Based on data collected by the Agency (Air Docket A-2000-18, IV-D-
79), rigid polyurethane/polyisocyanurate laminated boardstock makes up 
60% of the total foam manufacturing use of HCFC-141b in the U.S., the 
rigid polyurethane appliance end-use and spray foam application each 
use approximately 18% of the total HCFC-141b, and the remaining 4-5% of 
HCFC-141b use is combined in rigid polyurethane commercial 
refrigeration, sandwich panels, slabstock and other foam applications. 
Below is a discussion, by end-use, on the technical feasibility of non-
ODS alternatives to HCFC-141b (Table B lists the SNAP approved 
alternatives).

                                                      Table B.--SNAP Approved Alternatives to HCFCs
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                           Commercial
                                                                                                                         refrigeration,   Slabstock and
                   SNAP approved HCFC alternative                       Boardstock       Appliance          Spray         and sandwich     other foams
                                                                                                                             panels
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Water/CO2..........................................................               X                X                X                X                X
HFC-134a...........................................................               X                X                X                X                X
HFC-152a...........................................................               X                X                X                X                X
HFC-245fa..........................................................               X                X                X                X                X
Exxsol.............................................................               X                X                X                X                X
Hydrocarbons (C3-C6)...............................................               X                X   ...............               X                X
Formic Acid........................................................               X                X                X                X                X
Vacuum Panels......................................................  ...............               X
2-chloropropane....................................................               X
Methyl Formate.....................................................               X                X   ...............               X                X
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 47712]]

Rigid Polyurethane and Polyisocyanurate Laminated Boardstock
    Although the majority of comments supported EPA's determination 
that technically viable alternatives to HCFC-141b are available for the 
polyurethane and polyisocyanurate boardstock industry, two commenters 
stated that those manufacturers converting from HCFC-141b to 
hydrocarbons would see a 10-15% loss in insulation value of their 
product. EPA recognizes that foam manufactured using alternative 
blowing agents may display slightly different properties than HCFC-
141b-blown foam. However, the Agency did not receive, and is not 
otherwise aware of, data demonstrating that the use of hydrocarbons 
would reduce the insulating performance of polyurethane and 
polyisocyanurate boardstock. On the contrary, EPA received information 
showing that hydrocarbons are a viable option and that manufacturers in 
the polyurethane and polyisocyanurate laminated boardstock industry are 
actively transitioning to them, as described below.
    Hydrocarbon blowing agents have been considered viable candidates 
to replace HCFCs for several years. A 1995 article indicates that 
``hydrocarbon blown foams can be developed that meet the stringent 
requirements of the North American construction industries'' (Docket A-
2000-18, IV-D-41, Supporting Document 54). Although processing 
techniques were not optimized at the time, according to the authors, 
the data ``clearly indicate[s] that n-pentane and cyclopentane are 
viable candidates for use as * * * blowing agents in polyisocyanurate 
foams.'' Subsequent studies show that, due to further research and 
development of hydrocarbon blown foams over the past 5 years, the 
technical viability of hydrocarbons has improved (A-2000-18, IV-D-41, 
Supporting Document 44-51).
    Additionally, several comments provided information confirming that 
rigid polyurethane and polyisocyanurate laminated boardstock 
manufacturers are rapidly converting to hydrocarbon-based blowing 
agents. One roofing corporation presented a line of hydrocarbon blown 
foam in 1997, well ahead of the 2003 HCFC-141b phaseout (A-2000-18, IV-
D-72). As of March 2000, two additional polyisocyanurate boardstock 
manufacturers had announced their intention to use hydrocarbons, and 
two or three others planned to do so before 2001 (Docket A-2000-18, IV-
D-41, Supporting Document 43). EPA has additional information 
indicating that several other boardstock manufacturers are in the 
process of converting some or all of their facilities from HCFC-141b to 
hydrocarbons (A-2000-18, IV-D-64, 73). EPA believes that evidence of an 
ongoing transition from HCFC-141b to hydrocarbon blowing agents, 
provides conclusive support for the Agency's position that low- or 
zero-ODP alternatives are available in the rigid polyurethane and 
polyisocyanurate boardstock sector.
    Although hydrocarbons have taken the lead as the replacement for 
HCFC-141b in rigid polyurethane and polyisocyanurate laminated 
boardstock applications, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) may also be 
considered viable alternatives to HCFC blowing agents (Docket A-2000-
18, IV-D-41, Supporting Document 48, 52, 54). An article 
published for a Polyurethanes World Congress meeting in 1997 indicates 
that HFC-245fa is a technically viable zero-ODP alternative that 
``produces foams with properties comparable to HCFC-141b with minimal 
reformulation'' (Docket A-2000-18, IV-D-41, Supporting Document 
52). Although the author states that the predicted costs of 
HFC-245fa could limit its use in certain applications, recently 
published articles show that more cost-effective blends of HFC-245fa 
and water or HFC-245fa and hydrocarbons are currently being tested and 
developed for the boardstock sector (Docket A-2000-18, IV-D-74, 75). 
Based on this information, the Agency believes HFC-245fa and HFC-245fa 
blends are additional, viable zero-ODP alternatives to HCFC-141b in the 
polyurethane and polyisocyanurate boardstock industry.
Rigid Polyurethane Appliance Foam
    The rigid polyurethane appliance foam industry predominantly uses 
HCFC-141b with some minor use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b. As discussed in 
the previous section, existing use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b is 
considered acceptable in today's action.\5\ For appliance foam 
manufacturers using HCFC-141b today, however, the Agency believes that 
there are a sufficient number of viable, non-ozone depleting 
alternatives to which the industry has already made substantial 
commitment. As discussed below, in anticipation of the phaseout of 
HCFC-141b and new Department of Energy efficiency standards, the U.S. 
appliance industry has been testing and developing zero-ODP 
alternatives for at least five years (Docket A-2000-18: IV-D-11, 
Attachments 2, 4; IV-D-41, Supporting Document 5).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ Appliance manufacturers recently modified their products and 
operations to comply with 2001 DOE energy efficiency standards. In 
contrast to appliance manufacturers that have been using HCFC-141b, 
HCFC-22/-142b users have assumed that their blowing agents would be 
available until 2010. As discussed in this section, alternatives to 
HCFC-141b in the appliance sector have been developed and are being 
implemented in ways to ensure compliance with the DOE standard. The 
Agency believes that it would be difficult at this point for HCFC-
22/-142b users to test and implement other blowing agents in their 
products to meet the new energy standards.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hydrocarbon blowing agents have been considered viable candidates 
to replace CFCs and HCFCs for several years and are widely used to 
produce appliance foam in Europe and Japan. One commenter provided 16 
articles showing performance developments of hydrocarbon appliance 
systems since 1995 (Docket A-2000-18, IV-D-41, Supporting Documents 
2-5, 8-9, 12-13, 15, 17, 21-23, 25-26, 29). Although U.S. 
appliance manufacturers have not shown broad movement towards 
hydrocarbons, comments indicate that hydrocarbons are technically 
viable alternatives to HCFC-141b (Docket A-2000-18, IV-D-31 and 41 -
Supporting Document 5, 43).
    HFC-134a also is a technically viable alternative that is currently 
being used in the U.S. to manufacture appliance foam (Docket A-2000-18, 
IV-D-41-Supporting Document 5, IV-E-6). An October 2000 
industry report (Docket A-2000-18, IV-D-75c) documents developments in 
HFC-134a technology that have improved processing and foam properties. 
The author concludes that HFC-134a is a ``cost-effective substitute to 
produce rigid polyurethane foam with excellent properties for the 
appliance industry.''
    EPA received some comments opposed to the Agency's determination 
that technically viable alternatives are available for the polyurethane 
appliance foam sector. Three commenters stated that appliance 
manufacturers converting from HCFC-141b to commercially available zero-
ODP alternatives would see a 10% loss in energy efficiency (Docket A-
2000-18, IV-D-3, 11, 16). These commenters also suggest that 
alternative blowing agents, such as HFC-134a and cyclopentane, may 
result in foams that are not as thermally insulating as those produced 
with HCFC-141b. However, one study reported that performance of 
cyclopentane-blown appliance foam may approach that of CFC-11 (Docket 
A-2000-18, IV-D-41, Supporting Document 8). If appliance 
manufacturers see losses in insulation values when using hydrocarbons 
or HFC-134a, modifications can be made to reduce energy consumption to

[[Page 47713]]

compensate for losses in insulation value (Docket A-2000-18: IV-D-11, 
Attachment 1; IV-D-41, Supporting Document 27, 32, 
33). Additionally, EPA received numerous studies showing that use of 
HFC-245fa, which is scheduled to be commercially available by mid-2002, 
could result in energy efficiencies equal or superior to those for 
HCFC-141b (Docket A-2000-18: IV-D-11, Attachment 1-5, IV-D-41, 
Supporting Documents 1, 2, 5-7, 10, 11, 14-17, 23, 28) and 
several appliance manufacturers have finalized their plans to convert 
to HFC-245fa blowing agents (Docket A-2000-18: IV-E-6, IV-D-23).
    Water heaters and vending machines also fall under the SNAP rigid 
polyurethane appliance sector. Both of these applications are primarily 
supplied by polyurethane systems houses and some manufacturers in this 
end-use currently use HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b, while others use HCFC-
141b.\6\ The technical viability of alternatives for these applications 
was discussed in the May 23, 2001 Notice of Data Availability (NODA). 
Available information indicates that non-ozone depleting alternatives 
to HCFC-141b are available and are already being implemented. Several 
water heater manufacturers have transitioned from HCFCs to non-ozone-
depleting alternatives or are planning for conversions as the HCFC-141b 
production phaseout nears. No technical barriers to these alternatives 
were identified in the comments received from the polyurethane systems 
houses (non-spray foam) provided in the NODA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ Polyurethane systems houses sell pre-blended polyurethane 
systems which are defined in Section III, A.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rigid Polyurethane Spray Foam
    Based on several comments and a report commissioned by the Agency 
to supplement information provided in the comments to the proposed rule 
and NODA, there is little if any interest within the spray polyurethane 
foam industry in switching from HCFC-141b to HCFC-22 and/or HCFC-142b. 
Much of this resistance is due to differences in processing and 
performance, and the capital costs associated with transitioning from a 
liquid blowing agent (HCFC-141b) to a gaseous blowing agent (HCFC-22/
HCFC-142b). Today's action lists HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b as unacceptable 
substitutes for HCFC-141b within the rigid polyurethane spray foam 
sector. As discussed previously, the Agency will issue a separate 
decision on the request to allow for limited production of HCFC-141b 
beyond January, 2003 for spray foam applications.
Commercial Refrigeration and Sandwich Panels; Slabstock and ``Other 
Foams''
    Based on comments from numerous foam manufacturers within the 
commercial refrigeration, sandwich panels, and slabstock & ``other 
foams'' applications, EPA is approving use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b in 
these end-uses with narrowed use conditions. EPA found that these end-
uses have the following characteristics: (1) Highly diverse 
applications with unique technical considerations depending on the 
application; (2) thousands of small businesses with varying levels of 
progress made on research and development on alternatives; and (3) use 
of different HCFCs within the same applications with no single 
preferred blowing agent of choice;. These end-uses include a broad 
array of products and applications such as walk-in coolers, garage and 
entry doors, refrigerated trucks and railcars, architectural panels, 
picnic coolers, tank and pipe insulation, marine flotation foams, 
floral foams, and taxidermy foams. Given the limited amount of 
published information on the technical viability of alternatives in 
these end-uses, EPA commissioned a review of the diverse foam 
applications encompassed under this sector. The resulting information 
was made available for public review in the May 23, 2001 NODA (66 FR 
28408) and can be found in EPA's Air Docket (A-2000-18, IV-D-78, and 
79).
    Through the NODA, EPA provided information on the type and amount 
of HCFC used in each foam industry end-use (Air Docket A-2000-18, IV-D-
79). Based on information collected by EPA and comments to the NODA, 
EPA believes there is mixed use of HCFC-141b, -22, and HCFC-142b in the 
commercial refrigeration and sandwich panels and the slabstock and 
other foams applications, depending on the specific product and the 
individual manufacturer (Air Docket A-2000-18, IV-D-81). Unlike the 
polyurethane boardstock, appliance, and spray foam end-uses, a majority 
of foam manufacturers in these end-uses did not adopt HCFC-141b as 
their prime blowing agent. Instead, individual foam manufacturers 
within these applications adopted different HCFC blowing agents based 
on the original blowing agent used and existing equipment and product 
requirements (although there were differences in handling and 
processing due to differences in vapor pressure, the blowing agent and 
capital costs to transition were similar). Because HCFC-141b, -22, and 
HCFC-142b were similar in cost, companies could meet their specific 
product requirements and remain cost competitive while using different 
blowing agents to manufacture similar products.
    Within the commercial refrigeration and sandwich panel 
applications, non-ozone depleting alternatives have been identified 
and, in limited cases, implemented successfully. EPA is allowing 
limited use of HCFC-22 and/or HCFC-142b as alternatives to HCFC-141b 
for companies within these applications who have not had access to and/
or have been able to fully implement ozone-friendly alternatives to 
meet their thermal performance, dimensional, and flammability control 
requirements. The narrowed use limits imposed under today's action are 
in recognition of comments and information collected by the Agency 
indicating that many companies in the pour foam industry are engaged in 
developing and testing alternatives to ozone depleting chemicals, but 
that ozone-friendly alternatives are not yet widely available to ensure 
that products are made that maintain sufficient thermal efficiency, 
product integrity and safety. While technical information is scarce for 
these applications, EPA believes that within the wide range of small 
foam uses within these applications, there are HCFC-141b users who 
currently have technical constraints in transitioning from HCFC-141b to 
non-ozone-depleting alternatives. To help ensure that HCFC-22 and HCFC-
142b are used as substitutes for HCFC-141b only in specific 
applications where no technically viable alternatives are available, 
however, EPA is including these narrowed use limit provisions.
    In commercial refrigeration and sandwich panel applications, EPA's 
consultant report and comments identified HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as 
potential alternatives to HCFC-141b. One example is in refrigerated 
transport insulation, which may include refrigerated truck bodies and 
insulated rail cars, where there are cases in which it is critical to 
maintain thermal performance, flammability control, and an absolute 
outside dimension of a container while maximizing internal dimensions. 
Further, due to new low temperature requirements for food storage and 
transport recently imposed by the Food and Drug Administration, there 
is an increased demand for thermal performance of blowing agents for 
these applications. Even though manufacturers switching from a liquid

[[Page 47714]]

(HCFC-141b) to a gaseous (HCFC-22/HCFC-142b) blowing agent will need to 
make process/equipment modifications, some companies consider HCFC-22 
and HCFC-142b viable alternatives to HCFC-141b because their 
manufacturing processes occur in a controlled factory setting, making 
this transition more manageable. Therefore, where low temperature and/
or space requirements cannot be met with non-ozone-depleting blowing 
agents, HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b can be used as replacements for HCFC-
141b.
    Comments to the consultant report and information from systems 
houses indicate that there are also pour foam applications within the 
slabstock and other foams end-use where manufacturers have identified 
difficulties in transitioning from HCFC-141b to non-ODS alternatives. 
EPA received comments that HCFC-22/HCFC-142b may also be used as 
transitional blowing agents within this end-use. Similar to the 
commercial refrigeration and sandwich panel end-uses, available data 
indicate that alternatives to HCFCs are available for some applications 
within the rigid polyurethane slabstock and other foam end use, 
particularly those where foam is used in non-insulating applications. 
However, due to the diverse nature of this end use (e.g., picnic 
coolers, drink dispensers, marine flotation, tanks and pipes, floral 
and taxidermy foam) and potential technical constraints of some small 
businesses in transitioning to ozone-friendly alternatives, EPA is 
approving the use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as alternatives to HCFC-141b 
with narrowed use limits. At this time, EPA believes it is appropriate 
to approve these blowing agents in narrowed uses to facilitate the 
HCFC-141b phaseout and level the playing field for small businesses.
    The Agency recognizes that some of the constraints within the 
commercial refrigeration and sandwich panel and slabstock and other 
foam end-use sectors can be resolved through equipment and formulation 
modifications and that non-ozone-depleting blowing agents are currently 
under consideration or are being used in some applications. However, 
the end-uses within these sectors are highly diverse and their use of 
HCFCs fragmented (some use HCFC-141b while others use HCFC-22 and HCFC-
142b), and it is difficult to assess, in the absence of detailed 
information, the viability of alternatives in each narrow application. 
While HCFC-22/HCFC-142b may be the most viable alternatives to HCFC-
141b for some applications, non-ozone-depleting alternatives may be 
technically viable in other applications, such as entry or garage 
doors, where there are no strict insulation requirements. In fact, 
several door manufacturers have converted or are in the process of 
converting to non-ODS alternatives already listed as acceptable (Docket 
A-2000-18, IV-D-64, IV-E-6). In other cases, where HCFC-141b is used in 
niche applications, EPA believes foam manufacturers may experience 
difficulties and delays in transitioning from HCFC-141b to non-ozone-
depleting alternatives. Given the constraints associated with cost and 
timing of transitioning to alternatives for small businesses, and the 
need to facilitate a smooth and equitable transition from HCFC-141b, 
EPA believes that within the commercial refrigeration and sandwich 
panel and the slabstock and other foam end-use sectors, it is 
appropriate to approve use of HCFC-22 and/or HCFC-142b as substitutes 
for HCFC-141b in these end-uses, provided that the users intending to 
adopt HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b ascertain and document that other acceptable 
alternatives are not technically feasible. EPA urges foam manufacturers 
to replace HCFC-141b with non-ODP alternatives in applications where 
the non-ODP alternatives are technically and economically feasible. The 
Agency will continue its review of the transition in these end-uses for 
possible regulatory action in the future.
2. Availability of Alternatives
    Many commenters expressed concern over the timing and continued 
availability of the alternatives to HCFC-141b. The majority of these 
comments related to the limited supply of HFC-245fa to date and the 
uncertainty associated with relying on a single source of supply. EPA 
recognizes that HFC-245fa is not currently produced in commercial 
quantities. However, information from the manufacturer indicates that 
pilot quantities of HFC-245fa have been supplied to the foam industry, 
with semi-commercial quantities available today, and world-scale 
quantities becoming available later in 2002. Because the major market 
for this chemical is as a replacement for HCFC-141b, it is not 
surprising that the timing of commercialization coincides with the 
phaseout of 141b by January 1, 2003. Based on the progress on plant 
construction, EPA is confident that HFC-245fa will be commercially 
available to a significant part of the foam industry later this year.
    It is important to note that other alternatives, including other 
HFCs, hydrocarbons, and CO2/water have been commercially 
available for years. Although two commenters expressed concern that 
chemical manufacturers may not commit to produce sufficient quantities 
of HFC-134a, EPA has no reason to believe that HFC-134a will not be 
available for the foams industry. HFC-134a is extensively used 
throughout the U.S. in foam applications and as a refrigerant in 
automobile air conditioners. Hydrocarbons, CO2/water, and 
other SNAP approved alternatives are also widely available.
3. Economic/Small Business Impacts
    Today's action designates HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as acceptable 
substitutes subject to narrowed use limits for new users in some 
sectors (commercial refrigeration, sandwich panels, slabstock and other 
foam applications), and unacceptable for new use in other sectors where 
ozone-friendly alternatives are available. The Agency believes that its 
original cost analysis adequately accounts for the projected costs 
associated with the final rule. In evaluating the potential cost 
impacts of the July 11, 2000 proposal, EPA focused on the appliance 
sector where a range of alternative blowing agents, including HCFC-22 
and HCFC-142b were considered technically viable replacements for HCFC-
141b; responses to comments on this evaluation are provided later in 
this section. For other foam end-uses, EPA believed that either: (a) 
There would be no cost associated with the proposed decision; or, (b) 
that the costs would be extremely low. Explanations for each scenario 
follows:
    (a) The Agency did not project additional costs for certain 
polyurethane foam end-uses because the Agency believed that those end-
uses had identified non-ozone depleting chemicals as the most viable 
options. Because HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b were not seen as technically 
viable and/or cost effective, restrictions on new use of HCFC-22 and 
HCFC-142b in those sectors would not impose additional costs to the 
industry. Based on comments, EPA believes that assessment was accurate 
for the boardstock and spray foam end-uses. For other polyurethane 
applications, however, EPA found that HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b are 
considered technically and economically viable alternatives to HCFC-
141b. In those applications, EPA is listing HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as 
acceptable subject to narrowed use limits. The Agency does not believe 
there will be costs to the industry related to this decision that have 
not already been accounted for as part of the

[[Page 47715]]

original CFC and HCFC phaseout regulations.
    Since 1993, the foam industry, including the relevant sectors: 
commercial refrigeration, sandwich panels, and slabstock, have been 
aware of the impending phaseout of HCFCs. Individual companies in these 
sectors commented that they have been engaged in evaluating 
alternatives to HCFC-141b and collecting the kind of information 
required by the narrowed use provisions in today's rule. Under this 
rulemaking, these companies will only have to retain the documentation 
of these evaluations. The Agency has already accounted for costs 
associated with recordkeeping requirements for substitutes acceptable 
subject to narrowed use limits under the SNAP program (2001 SNAP ICR, 
OMB No. 2060-0226). The Agency therefore does not project any added 
costs for these sectors associated with today's rule.
    (b) The bulk of comments on the economic impacts to industry, 
including small business impacts, came from existing users of HCFC-22 
and HCFC-142b who were concerned that EPA had not fully considered the 
impact of discontinuing use of these chemicals by 2005. Any potential 
impacts on such users are not an issue given today's action which 
withdraws EPA's proposed decision to list HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as 
unacceptable for existing users of those chemicals. EPA concluded in 
its original economic analysis that the cost of transitioning away from 
HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b by January 1, 2005 would be extremely low because 
alternatives were readily available and comparably priced. As stated 
above, this issue is no longer relevant given that EPA is withdrawing 
the proposed restriction on continued use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b for 
those end-uses.
    As noted above, for those applications where new use of HCFC-22 and 
HCFC-142b is not considered acceptable, rigid polyurethane appliance 
foam is the only sector where HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b has been considered 
a possible option by at least some companies. As part of the July 11, 
2000 proposal, EPA estimated potential costs associated with 
restricting use of HCFC-22, HCFC-142b, and HCFC-124, in the appliance 
end-use. The Agency's assessment of costs to the appliance sector was 
premised on the fact that the costs of transitioning out of HCFC-141b 
for all users had been previously accounted for in the original CFC and 
HCFC phaseout regulations. Furthermore, EPA examined the potential 
costs associated with meeting the proposed SNAP restrictions while 
complying with the DOE efficiency standards which took effect in July, 
2001. Thus, for purposes of this rule, EPA compared the costs of 
manufacturing new refrigerators with foam blowing agents other than 
HCFC-141b (i.e., the cost of using HCFC-22/-142b was compared with the 
costs of using HFC-134a, HFC-245fa or hydrocarbons).
    Two commenters claim that the Unfunded Mandates Act obligated EPA 
to consider a reasonable number of regulatory alternatives and develop 
a budgetary impact statement because the proposed rule would result in 
costs to the private sector of more than $100 million or more in any 
one year. One of these commenters suggests that ``full utilization'' of 
HFC-245fa (i.e., use in all new refrigerators) would result in a 
material cost impact of $86 million per year and that full utilization 
of HFC-134a would result in an annual cost of $114.5 million. The 
commenters note that these costs do not take into account the retail 
pricing structure nor capital expenditures.
    Although it is unclear precisely what assumptions went into the 
commenters' conclusions regarding cost, it appears that the cost 
figures provided assume the full cost of transferring from HFC-141b to 
a substitute. EPA disagrees with that method of determining the costs 
associated with this rule. The core costs of switching from HCFC-141b 
to another substitute are costs associated with the HCFC phase-out 
rule, which mandates a phaseout in production of HCFC-141b by January 
1, 2003. In the economic analysis performed for the phaseout rule, EPA 
took into account the general cost that users of HCFCs would incur in 
switching to substitutes. Thus, in this rulemaking, which restricts 
some of the potential substitutes, EPA took into consideration the 
differential costs associated with employing the substitutes. For 
example, in examining the cost of this rule, EPA compared the costs to 
a user of switching from HCFC-141b to HCFC-22/142b with the costs of 
switching from HCFC-141b to HFC-245fa. Thus, if it were more costly to 
switch to HFC-245fa than to switch to HCFC-22/142b, the cost 
attributable to this rule which lists HCFC-22/142b as an unacceptable 
substitute in appliance foam would be the incremental cost of switching 
to HFC-245fa. In addition, EPA notes that the figures provided by the 
commenter for HFC-245fa and HFC-134a both assume ``full utilization.'' 
Thus, those numbers should not be combined; rather, it should be 
assumed that the costs identified by the commenter would fall somewhere 
between $86 million and $114.5 million, assuming the validity of those 
numbers. (As noted above, the commenter does not explain how those 
numbers were derived.) In concluding that the $100 million threshold 
would be exceeded because of this rule, the commenter apparently 
assumes a distribution of refrigerators using both HFCs (134a and 
245fa) but does not explain the scenario that they project for the 
industry.
    The Agency also disagrees with the commenter's claim that EPA's 
economic analysis under-estimates the manufacturing costs for 
refrigerators that would be converting to zero-ODP blowing agents for 
their insulation foam. As noted above, the Agency did not attribute 
costs specific to transitioning out of HCFC-141b to this rulemaking, 
since those costs have already been accounted for as part of the CFC 
and HCFC phaseout regulations. The Agency did estimate additional 
manufacturing costs associated with alternative blowing agents and it 
is noteworthy that this commenter presents a range of added costs 
comparable to the range derived by EPA. The commenter estimates that 
zero-ODP blowing agents would cost between $4.07 and $8.60 per 
refrigerator, while EPA estimated that the cost to convert to zero-ODP 
blowing agents would range from approximately $3 to $10 for a mid-size 
refrigerator. It is difficult for the Agency to respond to the 
commenter's analysis in any detail, however, because the commenter only 
states in a footnote to the table entitled ``Foam Blowing Agent 
Performance/Cost Factors'' that the costs include ``all costs necessary 
to insure that the foam system will function satisfactorily: blowing 
agent, polyurethane components, and capital investment,'' but does not 
disaggregate costs for separate manufacturing components as EPA did in 
its analysis (blowing agent price, foam density, foam cost, foam liner 
cost, capital to convert).
    By apparently ignoring the differential costs considered by EPA, 
the commenter under-estimates costs associated with less energy 
efficient blowing agents (e.g., HCFC-22/-142b) and over-estimates costs 
associated with more efficient blowing agents (e.g., HFC-245fa). In 
reviewing the insulation efficiencies associated with various 
acceptable foam blowing agents, EPA believed it was necessary to 
reflect the total costs of refrigerator manufacture under the new DOE 
requirements associated with alternative blowing agents. EPA's analysis 
calculated the potential additional costs associated with these kinds 
of design modifications needed to compensate for foams blown with 
agents that provide less insulation value. These additional costs 
depend on

[[Page 47716]]

the insulation value of the different blowing agents. EPA derived 
``energy penalties'' or ``energy gaps'' for the various foam blowing 
agents relative to HCFC-141b based on the R-values and k-factors for 
foams made with the various alternative blowing agents and other data 
provided in various industry forums. For example, these data indicate 
an 8% energy gap for a 60%/40% blend of HCFC-22/142b, whereas the 
commenter presents a significantly lower energy penalty (2%) for an 
unspecified blend of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b. Unlike EPA's analysis, the 
commenter's analysis does not appear to account for differential costs 
between alternative blowing agents associated with potential 
refrigerator re-designs to meet DOE energy efficiency standards that 
took effect in July 2001.
    The commenter incorrectly concludes that ``EPA implies that lower 
power, more efficient evaporator and condenser fan motors, more foam, 
and more extensive gasket systems cost less rather than more.'' The 
Agency does not believe that these types of modifications would not 
entail costs, and recognizes that complying with the new DOE energy 
standard, and transitioning from HCFC-141b to alternative blowing 
agents will have costs. However, as noted above, these costs are 
attributable to the phaseout and DOE energy efficiency standards. 
Blowing agents that provide greater insulation value will reduce the 
burden on the manufacturer to increase energy efficiency in other 
components of the refrigerator. In comparing the costs associated with 
the different alternatives, the Agency estimated that the impacts of 
the proposal, because it would facilitate a transition to an energy 
efficient blowing agent, would actually be a cost savings for the 
industry and ultimately, consumers. Because HFC-245fa has a high 
insulation value, EPA calculated that the total costs (cost of foam 
plus re-design costs to comply with new energy efficiency standard) 
associated with a transition to this agent would be considerably lower 
compared to a transition using any other alternative. In other words, a 
switch from HCFC-141b to HFC-245fa (which have comparable insulation 
values) would cost between $2.30 and $3.40 per refrigerator less 
compared to a switch from HCFC-141b to other blowing agents with lower 
insulation values and boiling points, such as HCFC-142b/HCFC-22 blends, 
or HFC-134a. When these costs are aggregated for the U.S., the cost 
reductions would total between approximately $23 million and $34 
million per year.
    The Agency believes, as discussed above, that the total costs of 
transitioning out of HCFC-141b in manufacturing new refrigerators is 
not a relevant consideration for today's rulemaking. The commenter 
again is apparently not accounting for differences in insulation value 
across the different blowing agents that are potential alternatives to 
HCFC-141b. For example, the commenter on one hand states that indirect 
costs are included to compensate for the reduced insulation value 
provided by HFC-134a; however, indirect cost savings from using HFC-
245fa, which provides significantly greater insulation value, are not 
included in the commenter's analysis. One commenter raised a concern 
that EPA does not restrict the import of products containing 
substitutes that EPA has determined unacceptable under SNAP and that 
companies that shift production of appliances to Mexico will have an 
unfair economic advantage. While EPA sympathizes with and shares the 
concerns raised by the commenter, the issues surrounding imports are 
complex and there are limits on EPA's ability to control the import of 
appliances that contain substitutes listed as unacceptable for use in 
the United States. However, those limits on EPA's ability to control 
imports do not justify a decision to list as acceptable substitutes 
that are more harmful to human health and the environment than other 
available substitutes.
    The Agency concludes that comments received since the proposal do 
not provide any substantive reasons why the original estimates require 
revision. The Agency maintains its assertion that the costs associated 
with today's decision will not result in the expenditure by State, 
local, and tribal governments or the private sector of $100 million or 
more in any one year.
4. EPA's Review Process
    EPA received comments that the Agency's review process took much 
longer than the period provided by the CAA and EPA's regulations and 
that the lengthy review created industry hardship. EPA recognizes that 
while a manufacturer of a substitute may market that substitute 90 days 
after it files a petition with EPA, that there may be reluctance of 
users to switch to that substitute until EPA makes a determination of 
whether that substitute is acceptable. EPA makes its best effort to 
review and act on a petition as quickly as possible. Under the SNAP 
procedures established in 1994, EPA may make determinations that a 
substitute is acceptable without going through notice-and-comment 
rulemaking. Thus, often, EPA can make determinations that a substitute 
is acceptable relatively quickly. However, EPA believes that notice-
and-comment rulemaking is required to place any alternative on the list 
of prohibited substitutes or to establish use limits. In providing 
adequate technical and scientific review of the substitute and 
providing sufficient public participation through the notice-and-
comment rulemaking process, it is virtually impossible for the Agency 
to make such determinations quickly.
    In this case, the Agency listed one of the chemicals in the 
petition, HFC-134a, as an acceptable substitute as soon as possible 
after the petition was received (64 FR 30410, June 8, 1999). HFC-134a 
is a non-ozone-depleting chemical that is safe to use and widely 
available. At that time, EPA reached the conclusion that additional 
review was necessary for the remaining chemicals (HCFCs) in the 
petition. Because of their ozone-depletion potential, EPA believed that 
the HCFCs could pose a higher risk than other SNAP approved 
alternatives. Therefore, EPA took additional time to assess the 
availability and technical viability of other SNAP approved 
alternatives in each foam sector end-use. Based on that review, EPA 
concluded that there were alternatives that posed a lower risk than 
HCFCs and drafted a proposal to list these chemicals as unacceptable. 
Following the comment period to the proposal, the Agency was faced with 
reviewing a significant amount of technical information provided in 
comments, collecting additional information regarding small businesses 
that might be affected by the rule, and seeking public comment on this 
new information through a Notice of Data Availability published in the 
Federal Register.
    While EPA strives to act on these petitions in a quick, yet 
thoughtful, manner, if a person is concerned that EPA is failing to act 
in accordance with statutory or regulatory time frames the CAA provides 
a remedy. Under section 304 of the CAA, a person may file an action 
requesting a federal district court to order EPA to take action as 
required under the Act.
    Several commenters argued that EPA did not consider the factors 
identified by EPA in the original SNAP program regulations as key 
decision criteria in evaluating the acceptability of proposed 
alternatives to ODSs (40 CFR 82.180 (a)(7)). Some commenters believed 
that EPA based the proposal on ODP alone and argued that the Agency 
cannot make a listing decision without taking into account the overall 
risk of the

[[Page 47717]]

alternatives. EPA would like to assure commenters that these factors 
were indeed considered. EPA's SNAP submission form requests extensive 
information on each substitute.\7\ Before proposing action on July 11, 
2000, the Agency considered ODP, global warming potential (GWP), 
insulation values for the resulting foam products, and toxicological 
risks for HCFC-22, -142b, and -124 compared to HCFC-141b and other 
acceptable alternatives. (EPA discusses its final decision to list 
HCFC-124 as unacceptable more fully in the next section.) Although in 
the preamble of the July 11, 2000 proposal, EPA summarized only the 
atmospheric effects of the various HCFCs, the information regarding the 
other decision criteria was considered and is publicly available in 
EPA's Air Docket A-91-42. After considering health and environment risk 
criteria, EPA determined that ODP and atmospheric lifetimes of HCFC-22, 
-142b, and -124 distinguish these chemicals from other HCFC-141b 
alternatives. As stated in the proposal, HCFC-141b has an ODP of 0.1, 
HCFC-142b has an ODP of 0.065, HCFC-22 has an ODP of 0.055, and HCFC-
124 has an ODP of 0.02 (World Meteorological Organization, 1999). The 
atmospheric lifetimes for these chemicals range from 6-18 years. 
Although it was not the determining factor for this decision, EPA noted 
that HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b also have 100-year global warming potentials 
that are significantly higher (1900 and 2300 respectively) than the 
zero-ODP alternatives already listed as acceptable. The Agency believes 
that the ozone depletion potentials of HCFC-22, -124, and -142b make 
them unacceptable substitutes for HCFC-141b in appliance, boardstock 
and spray foam applications because other alternatives are available 
that overall pose less risk to human health and the environment.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ To minimize the reporting burden EPA does not require 
submitters to re-submit data that have been previously reviewed by 
the Agency. HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b and HCFC-124 were previously 
submitted and fully reviewed as CFC substitutes in the foam and 
refrigeration sectors. This information is part of the record for 
the original March 1994 SNAP rulemaking.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    One commenter suggested that EPA should list HCFC-22, -142b, and -
124 as acceptable substitutes for HCFC-141b in all foam end-uses 
because each of the submitted chemicals has a lower ODP than does HCFC-
141b. The same commenter suggested EPA's proposed decision not to list 
as acceptable substitutes with any ODP was inconsistent with prior EPA 
decisions because 2-chloropropane, with an ODP of 0.003, was recently 
listed as acceptable under SNAP in the polyurethane boardstock sector. 
Similarly, another commenter referenced approval of a blend with 
CF3I (ODP estimated to be 0.008, atmospheric lifetime 
approximately 1 day) to replace CFC-12 in some refrigeration 
applications. EPA acknowledges that the Agency has listed substitutes 
for ODSs that themselves have ODPs; indeed, EPA approved the use of 
HCFCs as transitional foam blowing agents, despite their ozone 
depletion potential, because technically feasible alternatives to CFCs 
were limited at that time. EPA is taking the same approach in today's 
final action. In commercial refrigeration, sandwich panels, and 
slabstock and other foams applications, the Agency is approving 
narrowed use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as replacements for HCFC-141b 
because other approved alternatives may not be viable in certain 
applications at this time. However, in polyurethane boardstock, 
appliance and spray foam applications, EPA believes that low- or non-
ozone-depleting alternatives have been identified; therefore, EPA is 
listing HCFCs as unacceptable as replacements for HCFC-141b in these 
end-uses. EPA does not believe that today's decision to list HCFC-22 
and HCFC-142b as unacceptable replacements for HCFC-141b in those end 
uses is inconsistent with EPA's approval of 2-chloropropane as a 
replacement for HCFC-141b because the ODP of 2-chloropropane is 
estimated to be 0.003 which is extremely low (significantly lower than 
the ODPs of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b).
    Even though HCFC-22, and 142b have lower ODPs than HCFC-141b, EPA 
does not believe that new use of these ODSs as substitutes for HCFC-
141b, even for a short period of time, is warranted across the spectrum 
of foam applications given the availability of zero-ODP foam blowing 
agents in certain applications. Where alternatives are available, the 
transition from HCFCs to zero-ODP alternatives can be made, and will be 
made more quickly without an additional and incremental transition from 
HCFC-141b to other HCFCs. This decision is consistent with a previous 
EPA determination, based on the availability of alternatives with zero-
ODP, that HCFC-141b is not acceptable as a substitute cleaning solvent 
for CFC-113 or methyl chloroform (59 FR 13044). A determination that it 
is acceptable for users of HCFC-141b to switch to HCFC-22, HCFC-142b or 
blends thereof would result in continued damage to the ozone layer and 
would delay the transition to zero-ODP foam blowing agents which are 
available.
    One commenter suggested that EPA's review should have resulted in 
approval of HCFCs because, based on data provided by the commenter, 
some of the currently acceptable alternatives increase GWP, 
CO2 loading, and energy use compared to HCFC-141b (Docket A-
2000-18, IV-D-3) and that HCFC-22, -142b, and -124 provide lower 
overall risk than HCFC-141b. Under SNAP, EPA's primary consideration is 
the comparison of substitutes, not the comparison of the substitute 
with the substance it is replacing (Clean Air Act Section 612 (c)). The 
information that EPA had at the time of proposal, as well as the 
information provided by the commenter, shows that the zero-ODP 
alternatives already listed as acceptable, compared to HCFC-22 and 
HCFC-142b, can in fact reduce ODP, GWP, atmospheric lifetime, and 
improve energy efficiency, thereby reducing emissions of 
CO2. The information also shows that the zero-ODP 
alternatives, compared to HCFC-124 reduce ODP in all cases, and reduce 
GWP, atmospheric lifetime, and CO2 loading in some cases. 
However, the differences in GWP, atmospheric lifetime, and 
CO2 loading were not significant enough to warrant 
determining HCFC-124 acceptable. Although information provided by this 
commenter and a few others report increases in energy use for some 
currently acceptable substitutes, EPA believes, as discussed above in 
section III, C, 1 under Rigid Polyurethane Appliance Foam, that use of 
zero-ODP alternatives will result in insulation values very close to 
those for HCFC-141b and that other non-foam related modifications could 
improve energy efficiency where necessary.
    Regarding the other health and environmental factors typically 
included in SNAP review (40 CFC 82.180(a)(7)), EPA found no substantive 
distinction between the HCFCs under consideration and the alternatives 
already listed as acceptable foam blowing agents. However, some 
commenters disagreed with EPA's finding and expressed concern that EPA 
disregarded evidence that HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b pose lower risks than 
current alternatives in certain aspects. Two commenters specifically 
pointed out that hydrocarbons are flammable volatile organic compounds 
and pose a greater risk than the HCFCs under review. One of these 
commenters also stated that HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b are relatively less 
toxic than HFC-245fa.
    EPA recognizes that the risks associated with factors such as 
toxicity and flammability vary amongst the

[[Page 47718]]

SNAP-approved alternatives and the HCFCs under consideration. For 
example, EPA recognized the flammability risks and VOC issues 
associated with hydrocarbons when they were originally approved as 
replacements for CFCs in the foam sector (59 FR 13083). In SNAP listing 
decisions published in December 1999 and April 2000, the Agency 
approved hydrocarbons for use as replacements for HCFC-141b, but 
indicated that hydrocarbon blowing agents are flammable and should be 
handled with proper precautions (64 FR 68039 and 65 FR 19327). EPA gave 
examples of high risk scenarios and stated that approval of 
hydrocarbons in certain applications would be granted only to 
manufacturers providing safety training to their customers (64 FR 68039 
and 65 FR 19327).
    Regarding the comment about toxicity of HFC-245fa, EPA does not 
believe there are increased human health risks associated with use of 
HFC-245fa versus HCFCs in the foam industry. When EPA listed HFC-245fa 
as an acceptable substitute, EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention and 
Toxics reviewed the toxicity profile of HFC-245fa and referred it to 
the American Industrial Hygiene Association's (AIHA) workplace 
environmental exposure limit (WEEL) committee for a final exposure 
limit. Since then, the WEEL committee adopted an occupational exposure 
limit of 300 ppm (8-hour Time Weighted Average). EPA anticipates that 
HFC-245fa will be used in a manner consistent with recommendations 
specified in the manufacturers' Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) (64 
FR 68039) and that any exposures will fall well below acceptable 
exposure limits set by the AIHA or other voluntary consensus standards 
organizations.
    As part of prior SNAP determinations, the Agency has specifically 
reviewed the flammability and toxicological risks associated with the 
various alternative foam blowing agents, and consistent with its 
conclusion and recommendations at the time these substitutes where 
listed as acceptable, the Agency believes that those potential risks 
associated with the zero-ODP alternatives will be mitigated by the 
industry with appropriate health and safety procedures.

D. HCFC-124

    Based on comments, EPA believes that interest in using HCFC-124 is 
limited to the rigid polyurethane appliance end-use within the foam 
sector. Comments on the July 11, 2000 proposal and May 23, 2001 NODA 
regarding new use of HCFC-124 in appliances indicate opposing views on 
whether HCFC-124 should be listed as an acceptable substitute for HCFC-
141b.
    Several comments summarized and responded to above suggested that 
EPA should list HCFC-124, as well as HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b, as 
acceptable substitutes in all foam end-uses because each of these 
chemicals has a lower ODP than HCFC-141b. In addition, two commenters 
argued that HCFC-124 provided an energy-efficient alternative to HCFC-
141b while use of zero-ODP alternatives would result in energy losses. 
As discussed above in section III, C, 1 under Rigid Polyurethane 
Appliance Foam, EPA believes use of currently acceptable alternatives 
could result in energy efficient products. One commenter agreed with 
the Agency's proposed decision on HCFC-124 and estimated that foam 
blown with HFC-245fa has a 7-10% energy consumption advantage compared 
to HCFC-124 and, after accounting for the aging rate of the foam, that 
a refrigerator made with HFC-245fa blown foam would have about 15% less 
total global warming impact compared to a similar product made with 
HCFC-124. This commenter expressed confidence that the appliance 
industry has zero-ODP alternatives to HCFC-141b that will not adversely 
affect energy efficiency, including HFC-245fa. The commenter expressed 
concern that approval of HCFC-124 would reverse progress made by the 
appliance industry to eliminate compounds with an ODP, would fail to 
account for the availability of other, more viable non-ODP 
alternatives, and this would be inconsistent with the intent of the 
Clean Air Act and EPA's mandate to protect the environment. This 
commenter also expressed concern that approval would ``penalize 
environmentally responsible companies''.
    The Agency agrees with the latter commenter and their analysis 
which more fully takes account of energy consumption and the total 
environmental impact of alternative blowing agents. As discussed, EPA 
does not believe that new use of HCFCs as substitutes for HCFC-141b, 
even for a short period of time, is warranted in all foam end-uses 
given the availability of zero-ODP foam blowing agents in most specific 
applications. In the case of rigid polyurethane appliance foam, the 
transition from HCFCs to zero-ODP alternatives can be made without an 
additional and incremental transition from HCFC-141b to HCFC-124. The 
Agency has identified several zero ODP foam blowing agent alternatives 
for the appliance foam end-uses. The Agency believes that the ozone 
depletion potential of HCFC-124 makes it an unacceptable substitute for 
HCFC-141b because other alternatives are available for the appliance 
foam industry that overall pose a less significant risk to human health 
and the environment. The information that EPA had at the time of 
proposal as well as the information provided by commenters since shows 
that the zero-ODP alternatives already listed as acceptable, compared 
to HCFC-124, have lower ODPs in all cases, and in some cases, lower 
GWPs and atmospheric lifetimes. A determination that it would be 
acceptable for users of HCFC-141b to switch to HCFC-124 would result in 
continued damage to the ozone layer and would delay the transition to 
zero-ODP foam blowing agents which are available.

IV. Summary

    A major objective of the SNAP program is to facilitate the 
transition from ozone-depleting chemicals by promoting the use of 
substitutes which present a lower risk to human health and the 
environment (40 CFR 82.170(a)). In this light, a key policy interest of 
the SNAP program is promoting the quickest shift from ODSs to 
alternatives posing lower overall risk and that are currently or 
potentially available (59 FR 13044). Today's decision to list HCFC-22, 
HCFC-142b, and HCFC-124 as unacceptable substitutes for HCFC-141b in 
the end-uses discussed above is based on the Agency's finding that the 
use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b, in applications where non-ozone depleting 
chemicals are available, would contribute to the continued depletion of 
the ozone layer, and would delay the transition to alternatives that 
pose lower overall risk to the health and the environment.
    For commercial refrigeration and sandwich panel applications, and 
the polyurethane slabstock and other foams end-use, EPA is listing 
HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b, with narrowed use limits, as acceptable 
replacements for HCFC-141b. EPA is strongly opposed to listing HCFCs as 
acceptable where non-ozone-depleting alternatives are available. 
However, EPA believes that ozone-friendly alternatives to HCFC-141b 
have not yet been fully developed and implemented across the spectrum 
of applications within these end-uses. In these situations, EPA 
believes switching to HCFC-22 and/or HCFC-142b as a bridge to non-
ozone-depleting alternatives presents a lower risk than continued use 
of HCFC-141b.

[[Page 47719]]

V. Administrative Requirements

A. Executive Order 12866

    Under Executive Order 12866, (58 FR 51735; October 4, 1993) the 
Agency must determine whether the regulatory action is ``significant'' 
and therefore subject to OMB review and the requirements of the 
Executive Order. The Order defines ``significant regulatory action'' as 
one that is likely to result in a rule that may: (1) Have an annual 
effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a 
material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, 
competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, 
local, or tribal governments or communities; (2) create a serious 
inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by 
another agency; (3) materially alter the budgetary impact of 
entitlement, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and 
obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) raise novel legal or policy 
issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or 
the principles set forth in the Executive Order.
    Pursuant to the terms of Executive Order 12866, OMB notified EPA 
that it considers this a ``significant regulatory action'' within the 
meaning of the Executive Order and EPA submitted this action to OMB for 
review. Changes made in response to OMB suggestions or recommendations 
will be documented in the public record.

B. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), Pub. 
L. 104-4, establishes requirements for Federal agencies to assess the 
effects of their regulatory actions on State, local, and tribal 
governments and the private sector.
    Under section 202 of the UMRA, EPA generally must prepare a written 
statement, including a cost-benefit analysis, for proposed and final 
rules with ``Federal mandates'' that may result in expenditures by 
State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the 
private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year. Before 
promulgating an EPA rule for which a written statement is needed, 
section 205 of the UMRA generally requires EPA to identify and consider 
a reasonable number of regulatory alternatives and adopt the least 
costly, most cost-effective or least burdensome alternative that 
achieves the objectives of the rule. The provisions of section 205 do 
not apply when they are inconsistent with applicable law. Moreover, 
section 205 allows EPA to adopt an alternative other than the least 
costly, most cost-effective or least burdensome alternative if the 
Administrator publishes with the final rule an explanation why that 
alternative was not adopted. Section 204 of the UMRA requires the 
Agency to develop a process to allow elected state, local, and tribal 
government officials to provide input in the development of any 
proposal containing a significant Federal intergovernmental mandate.
    Before EPA establishes any regulatory requirements that may 
significantly or uniquely affect small governments, including tribal 
governments, it must have developed under section 203 of the UMRA a 
small government agency plan. The plan must provide for notifying 
potentially affected small governments, enabling officials of affected 
small governments to have meaningful and timely input in the 
development of EPA regulatory proposals with significant Federal 
intergovernmental mandates, and informing, educating, and advising 
small governments on compliance with the regulatory requirements.
    EPA has determined that this rule does not contain a Federal 
mandate that may result in expenditures of $100 million or more for 
State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or the private 
sector in any one year. This rule imposes no enforceable duty on any 
State, local or tribal government. The core costs of transitioning from 
HCFC-141b to substitutes are costs associated with the January 1, 2003 
phaseout deadline for the production and import of HCFC-141b, 
previously established on December 10, 1993 (58 FR 65018). In the 
economic analysis for that rule, EPA accounted for costs to HCFC 
manufacturers and users to shift from, for example, HCFC-141b to 
substitutes. For the private sector, this rule identifies which HCFC-
141b alternatives are acceptable and adds minor recordkeeping 
requirements for those who wish to transition from HCFC-141b to HCFC-22 
or HCFC-142b in sectors where that transition is acceptable. Thus, it 
is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of the UMRA. 
EPA has also determined that this rule contains no regulatory 
requirements that might significantly or uniquely affect small 
governments; therefore, EPA is not required to develop a plan with 
regard to small governments under section 203. Finally, because this 
rule does not contain a significant intergovernmental mandate, the 
Agency is not required to develop a process to obtain input from 
elected state, local, and tribal officials under section 204.

C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) as amended by the Small Business 
Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), 5 U.S.C. 601 et 
seq.

    The RFA generally requires an agency to prepare a regulatory 
flexibility analysis of any rule subject to notice and comment 
rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act or any 
other statute unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
Small entities include small businesses, small organizations, and small 
governmental jurisdictions. As discussed above, EPA received comments 
on potential small business impacts of the proposal. In response to 
those comments, the Agency collected additional technical information 
and analyzed the potential for economic impacts to small businesses. 
EPA found that there are some foam manufacturers who currently have 
technical constraints in transitioning from HCFCs to non-ozone-
depleting alternatives. Based on that information, EPA is withdrawing 
its proposed decision to list existing use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as 
unacceptable and approving narrowed use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b as 
replacements for HCFC-141b in certain applications. As provided above, 
EPA believes that the recordkeeping requirement associated with the 
narrowed use determination will not result in any substantial cost. In 
the end-uses for which EPA is listing HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b acceptable, 
small businesses will not be affected. Therefore, I certify that this 
action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities.

D. Paperwork Reduction Act

    EPA has determined that this final rule contains no information 
requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et. 
seq., that are not already approved by the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB). OMB has reviewed and approved two Information Collection 
Requests (ICRs) by EPA which are described in the March 18, 1994 
rulemaking (59 FR 13044, at 13121, 13146-13147) and in the October 16, 
1996 rulemaking (61 FR 54030, at 54038-54039). These ICRs included five 
types of respondent reporting and record-keeping activities pursuant to 
SNAP regulations: submission of a SNAP petition, filing a SNAP/TSCA 
Addendum, notification for test marketing activity, record-keeping for 
substitutes acceptable subject to

[[Page 47720]]

narrowed use limits, and record-keeping for small volume uses. The OMB 
Control Numbers are 2060-0226 and 2060-0350.

E. Submission to Congress and the Comptroller General

    The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as added by the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally 
provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating 
the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, 
to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the 
United States. EPA will submit a report containing this rule and other 
required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of 
Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior 
to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. This rule is not a 
``major rule'' as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

F. Executive Order 13045: ``Protection of Children from Environmental 
Health Risks and Safety Risks''

    Executive Order 13045: ``Protection of Children from Environmental 
Health Risks and Safety Risks'' (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997) applies 
to any rule that: (1) Is determined to be ``economically significant'' 
as defined under Executive Order 12866, and (2) concerns an 
environmental health or safety risk that EPA has reason to believe may 
have a disproportionate effect on children. If the regulatory action 
meets both criteria, the Agency must evaluate the environmental health 
or safety effects of the planned rule on children, and explain why the 
planned regulation is preferable to other potentially effective and 
reasonably feasible alternatives considered by the Agency.
    This final rule is not subject to the Executive Order because it is 
not economically significant as defined in Executive Order 12866, and 
because the Agency does not have reason to believe the environmental 
health or safety risks addressed by this action present a 
disproportionate risk to children, as the exposure limits and 
acceptability listings in this final rule primarily apply to the 
workplace.

G. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    Executive Order 13132, entitled ``Federalism'' (64 FR 43255, August 
10, 1999), requires EPA to develop an accountable process to ensure 
``meaningful and timely input by State and local officials in the 
development of regulatory policies that have federalism implications.'' 
``Policies that have federalism implications'' is defined in the 
Executive Order to include regulations that 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.'' Under 
Executive Order 13132, EPA may not issue a regulation that has 
federalism implications, that imposes substantial direct compliance 
costs, and that is not required by statute, unless the Federal 
government provides the funds necessary to pay the direct compliance 
costs incurred by State and local governments, or EPA consults with 
State and local officials early in the process of developing the 
proposed regulation. EPA also may not issue a regulation that has 
federalism implications and that preempts State law unless the Agency 
consults with State and local officials early in the process of 
developing the proposed regulation.
    This final rule 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, as specified in Executive Order 13132. 
Thus, the requirements of section 6 of the Executive Order do not apply 
to this rule.

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

    Executive Order 13175, entitled ``Consultation and Coordination 
with Indian Tribal Governments'' (65 FR 67249, November 6, 2000), 
requires EPA to develop an accountable process to ensure ``meaningful 
and timely input by tribal officials in the development of regulatory 
policies that have tribal implications.'' ``Policies that have tribal 
implications'' is defined in the Executive Order to include regulations 
that have ``substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes, on 
the relationship between the Federal government and the Indian tribes, 
or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the 
Federal government and Indian tribes.''
    This final rule does not have tribal implications. It will not have 
substantial direct effects on tribal governments, on the relationship 
between the Federal government and Indian tribes, or on the 
distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal 
government and Indian tribes, as specified in Executive Order 13175. 
This rule applies to facilities that manufacture foam and not 
government entities. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this 
rule.

I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 
(NTTAA), section 12(d), Public Law 104-113, requires federal agencies 
and departments to use technical standards that are developed or 
adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies, using such technical 
standards as a means to carry out policy objectives or activities 
determined by the agencies and departments. If use of such technical 
standards is inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical, 
a federal agency or department may elect to use technical standards 
that are not developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards 
bodies if the head of the agency or department transmits to the Office 
of Management and Budget an explanation of the reasons for using such 
standards. This rule does not mandate the use of any technical 
standards; accordingly, the NTTAA does not apply to this rule.

J. Executive Order 13211 (Energy Effects)

    This rule is not a ``significant energy action'' as defined in 
Executive Order 13211, ``Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use'' (66 Fed. 
Reg. 28355 (May 22, 2001)) because it is not likely to have a 
significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of 
energy. The rule lists acceptable and unacceptable substitutes for 
ozone-depleting chemicals in foam manufacturing. Where other approved 
alternatives are available and technically viable, EPA is listing HCFC-
22, HCFC-142b, and HCFC-124 as unacceptable replacements for HCFC-141b. 
Although some comments to the proposal stated that use of other EPA 
approved alternatives would result in diminished insulation value and 
reduce the energy efficiency of products such as appliances, as 
discussed in the response to comments above, EPA believes that use of 
alternatives can result in products that are equal or superior in 
energy efficiency. EPA's position is supported by several appliance 
manufacturers who plan to meet DOE energy efficiency requirements using 
non-ozone-depleting foam blowing agents. Where alternatives to HCFC-
141b have not been fully developed, EPA is listing HCFC-22 and HCFC-
142b as acceptable in certain applications with narrowed use limits. 
Based on our evaluation of comments and technical data, we have 
concluded

[[Page 47721]]

that this rule is not likely to have any adverse energy effects.

VI. Additional Information

    For copies of the comprehensive SNAP lists or additional 
information on SNAP, contact the Stratospheric Protection Hotline at 
(800) 296-1996.
    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 EPA publications on protection of stratospheric ozone, are 
available from EPA's Ozone Depletion World Wide Web site at ``http://
www.epa.gov/ ozone/'' and from the Stratospheric Protection Hotline 
number as listed above.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 82

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

    Dated: July 12, 2002.
Christine Todd Whitman,
Administrator.

     For the reasons set out in the preamble, 40 CFR part 82 is amended 
as follows:

PART 82--PROTECTION OF STRATOSPHERIC OZONE

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

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

Subpart G--Significant New Alternatives Policy Program

    2. Subpart G is amended by adding Appendix K to read as follows:

Appendix K to Subpart G--Substitutes Subject to Use Restrictions and 
Unacceptable Substitutes Listed in the July 22, 2002, Final Rule, 
Effective August 21, 2002.

                                     Foam Blowing--Unacceptable Substitutes
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              End-use                      Substitute               Decision                   Comments
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Replacements for HCFC-141b in the    HCFC-22, HCFC-142b and  Unacceptable..........  Alternatives exist with
 following rigid polyurethane/        blends thereof.                                 lower or zero-ODP.
 polyisocyanurate applications:
    --Boardstock
    --Appliance
    --Spray
All foam end-uses..................  HCFC-124..............  Unacceptable..........  Alternatives exist with
                                                                                      lower or zero-ODP.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                      Foam Blowing--Acceptable Substitutes
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              End-use                      Substitute               Decision                   Comments
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Replacements for HCFC-141b in the    HCFC-22, HCFC-142b and  Acceptable Subject to   Users must evaluate other
 following rigid polyurethane         blends thereof.         Narrowed to Narrowed    acceptable non-ozone-
 applications:                                                Use Limits.             depleting substitutes to
--Commercial Refrigeration.........                                                   determine that HCFC-22/
--Sandwich Panels..................                                                   HCFC-142b use is necessary
--Slabstock and Other Foams........                                                   to meet performance or
                                                                                      safety requirements. Users
                                                                                      must determine that there
                                                                                      are technical constraints
                                                                                      that preclude the use of
                                                                                      other available
                                                                                      substitutes. Documentation
                                                                                      of this evaluation must be
                                                                                      available for review upon
                                                                                      request.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[FR Doc. 02-18176 Filed 7-19-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P