[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 114 (Thursday, June 12, 2008)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 33304-33311]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-13086]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 82

[EPA-HQ-OAR-2004-0488; FRL-8578-1]
RIN 2060-AM54


Protection of the Stratospheric Ozone: Alternatives for the Motor 
Vehicle Air Conditioning Sector Under the Significant New Alternatives 
Policy (SNAP) Program

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Clean Air Act provides for the review of alternatives to 
ozone-depleting substances and the approval of substitutes that do not 
present a risk more significant than other alternatives that are 
available. Under that authority, the Significant New Alternatives 
Policy (SNAP) program, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is 
expanding the list of acceptable substitutes for ozone-depleting 
substances (ODS). The substitute addressed in this final rule (i.e., R-
152a) is for the motor vehicle air conditioning (MVAC) end-use within 
the refrigeration and air-conditioning sector. This substitute does not 
pose significantly more risk than other substitutes that are available 
in this end use. Additionally, this substitute is a non ozone-depleting 
gas and consequently does not contribute to stratospheric ozone 
depletion.

DATES: This final rule is effective on August 11, 2008.

ADDRESSES: EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID 
No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2004-0488. All documents in the docket are listed on the 
http://www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some 
information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information 
whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such 
as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be 
publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket 
materials are available either electronically through http://
www.regulations.gov or in hard copy from the EPA Air and Radiation 
Docket, EPA/DC, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., 
Washington, DC. This Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 
p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone 
number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone 
number for the Air and Radiation Docket is (202) 566-1742.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen Thundiyil, Stratospheric 
Protection Division, Office of Air and Radiation, MC 6205J, 
Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., 
Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 343-9464; fax number: 
(202) 343-2363; e-mail address: thundiyil.karen@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This final action provides motor vehicle 
manufacturers and their suppliers an additional refrigerant option for 
motor vehicle air conditioning systems. The refrigerant substitute 
discussed in this action (i.e., R-152a) is non ozone-depleting. Members 
of the MVAC manufacturing and MVAC service industries have all been 
actively engaged in the development of this rulemaking and are 
developing prototype systems with the use conditions defined in this 
rulemaking.
    This final action helps harmonize U.S. MVAC alternatives with 
European Union (EU) MVAC alternatives. The EU has banned the use of R-
134a, the predominant MVAC refrigerant in the U.S and the EU, in new 
cars beginning in 2011. By 2020, cars sold in the EU may have to 
include the new alternative in this action. In response, U.S. original 
equipment manufacturers are developing MVAC systems using R-152a and 
other alternative refrigerants for the European market and for possible 
U.S. sale as well.
    EPA is deferring final rulemaking on R-744 (carbon dioxide). EPA is 
currently continuing to consider further several issues with respect to 
this regulatory action.

Table of Contents

I. Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program Authority
    A. Rulemaking
    B. Listing of Unacceptable/Acceptable Substitutes
    C. Petition Process
    D. 90-day Notification
    E. Outreach
    F. Clearinghouse
II. SNAP Listing Decisions
III. Summary of Acceptability Determinations
IV. Summary of the Proposal
V. R-152a Exposure
VI. Final Rule Discussion
VII. Response to Comments
    A. Servicing
    B. Army/EPA Assessment
    C. Risk Mitigation Strategies
    D. Industry Standards
    E. Use Conditions
VIII. Final Rule Summary
IX. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews
    A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review
    B. Paperwork Reduction Act
    C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)
    D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
    E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism
    F. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With 
Indian Tribal Governments
    G. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From 
Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks
    H. Executive Order 13211: Actions That Significantly Affect 
Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use
    I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act
    J. Congressional Review Act

I. Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program Authority

    Section 612 of the Clean Air Act (the Act) authorizes EPA to 
develop a program for evaluating alternatives to ozone-depleting 
substances. EPA refers to this program as the Significant New 
Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program. The major provisions of section 612 
are:

A. Rulemaking

    Section 612(c) requires EPA to promulgate rules making it unlawful 
to replace any class I (e.g., chlorofluorocarbon, halon, carbon 
tetrachloride, methyl chloroform,

[[Page 33305]]

methyl bromide, and hydrobromofluorocarbon) or class II (e.g., 
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.

B. Listing of Unacceptable/Acceptable Substitutes

    Section 612(c) also requires EPA to publish a list of the 
substitutes unacceptable for specific uses and to publish a 
corresponding list of acceptable alternatives for specific uses.

C. Petition Process

    Section 612(d) grants the right to any person to petition EPA to 
add a substance to, or delete a substance from the lists published in 
accordance with section 612(c). The Agency has 90 days to grant or deny 
a petition. Where the Agency grants the petition, EPA must publish the 
revised lists within an additional six months.

D. 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 unpublished health and safety studies on such substitutes.

E. 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.

F. 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.
    On March 18, 1994, EPA published the original rulemaking (59 FR 
13044) which described the process for administering the SNAP program 
and issued EPA's first acceptability lists for substitutes in the major 
industrial use sectors. These sectors include: Refrigeration and air-
conditioning; foam blowing; solvents cleaning; fire suppression and 
explosion protection; sterilants; aerosols; adhesives, coatings and 
inks; and tobacco expansion. These sectors compose the principal 
industrial sectors that historically consumed the largest volumes of 
ozone-depleting substances.
    For the purposes of SNAP, the Agency defines a ``substitute'' as 
``any chemical, product substitute, or alternative manufacturing 
process, whether existing or new, intended for use as a replacement for 
a class I or class II compound'' 40 CFR 82.172. Anyone who produces a 
substitute must provide the Agency with health and safety studies on 
the substitute at least 90 days before introducing it into interstate 
commerce for significant new use as an alternative. This requirement 
applies to substitute manufacturers, but may include importers, 
formulators, or end-users, when they are responsible for introducing a 
substitute into commerce.
    A complete chronology of SNAP decisions and the appropriate Federal 
Register citations are available at EPA's Stratospheric Ozone World 
Wide Web site at http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/chron.html. This 
information is also available from the Air Docket (see Addresses 
section above for contact information).

II. SNAP Listing Decisions

    The Agency has identified four possible decision categories for 
substitutes: Acceptable; acceptable subject to use conditions; 
acceptable subject to narrowed use limits; and unacceptable. Use 
conditions and narrowed use limits are both considered ``use 
restrictions'' and are explained below. Substitutes that are deemed 
acceptable with no use restrictions (no use conditions or narrowed use 
limits) can be used for all applications within the relevant sector 
end-use. Substitutes that are acceptable subject to use restrictions 
may be used only in accordance with those restrictions. It is illegal 
to replace an ozone depleting substance (ODS) with a substitute listed 
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 risks to human health and the environment. We describe 
such substitutes as ``acceptable subject to use conditions.'' If you 
use these substitutes without meeting the associated use conditions, 
you use these substitutes in an unacceptable manner and you could be 
subject to enforcement for violation of section 612 of the Clean Air 
Act.
    For some substitutes, the Agency may permit a narrowed range of use 
within a sector. For example, we may limit the use of a substitute to 
certain end-uses or specific applications within an industry sector or 
may require a user to demonstrate that no other acceptable end uses are 
available for their specific application. We describe these substitutes 
as ``acceptable subject to narrowed use limits.'' If you use a 
substitute that is acceptable subject to narrowed use limits, but use 
it in applications and end-uses which are not consistent with the 
narrowed use limit, you are using these substitutes in an unacceptable 
manner and you could be subject to enforcement for violation of section 
612 of the Clean Air Act.
    The Agency publishes its SNAP program decisions in the Federal 
Register. For those substitutes that are deemed acceptable subject to 
use restrictions (use conditions and/or narrowed use limits), or for 
substitutes deemed unacceptable, we first publish these decisions as 
proposals to allow the public opportunity to comment, and we publish 
final decisions as final rulemakings.
    In contrast, we publish substitutes that are deemed acceptable with 
no restrictions in ``notices of acceptability,'' rather than as 
proposed and final rules. As described in the rule implementing the 
SNAP program (59 FR 13044), we do not believe that rulemaking 
procedures are necessary to list alternatives that are acceptable 
without restrictions because such listings neither impose any sanction 
nor prevent anyone from using a substitute.
    Many SNAP listings include ``Comments'' or ``Further Information.'' 
These statements provide additional information on substitutes that we 
determine are unacceptable, acceptable subject to narrowed use limits, 
or acceptable subject to use conditions. Since this additional 
information is not part of the regulatory decision, these statements 
are not binding for use of the substitute under the SNAP program. 
However, regulatory requirements listed in this column are binding 
under other programs. The further information does not necessarily 
include all other legal obligations pertaining to the use of the 
substitute. However, we encourage users of substitutes to apply all 
statements in the ``Comments'' column in their use of these 
substitutes. In many instances, the information simply refers to sound 
operating practices that have already been identified in existing 
industry standards. Thus, many of the comments, if adopted, would not 
require the

[[Page 33306]]

affected industry to make significant changes in existing operating 
practices.

III. Summary of Acceptability Determinations

    EPA has determined that R-152a (hydrofluorocarbon (HFC)-152a) is an 
acceptable refrigerant substitute (will now be referred to as 
``refrigerant'') with use conditions for MVAC systems, as a replacement 
for CFC-12 in new MVAC systems. This determination applies to MVAC 
systems in newly manufactured vehicles only. EPA proposed to find R-
152a as an acceptable substitute for CFC-12 in new MVAC systems on 
September 21, 2006 at 71 FR 55140 in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 
(referred to hereinafter as ``the proposal'' or NPRM).

IV. Summary of the Proposal

    In the September 2006 NPRM, the Agency proposed that new R-152a 
motor vehicle air conditioning systems be listed as acceptable with the 
use condition that systems must be designed to avoid occupant exposure 
to concentrations above 3.7% for more than 15 seconds in the passenger 
cabin free space, even in the event of a leak. The proposal noted that 
the addition of a squib valve/directed release system is one effective 
strategy for mitigating risk of R-152a systems and that other 
mitigation strategies may also prove effective.
    In the NPRM, EPA proposed requiring prominent labeling of R-152a 
MVAC systems with a warning such as ``CAUTION SYSTEM CONTAINS FLAMMABLE 
R-152a REFRIGERANT--TO BE SERVICED ONLY BY QUALIFIED PERSONNEL.'' 
Consistent with SAE J639 Standard, this label should be mounted in the 
engine compartment on a component that is not normally replaced and 
where it can be easily seen. This label should include refrigerant 
identification information and indicate the refrigerant is flammable. 
Additionally, the NPRM noted that the original equipment manufacturer 
(OEM) should conduct and maintain records of failure mode and effects 
analysis (FMEA) tests they perform to ensure that MVAC systems are safe 
and are designed with sufficient risk mitigation devices to ensure that 
occupants are not exposed to levels of R-152a above 3.7% for more than 
15 seconds.

V. R-152a Exposure

    The American Industrial Hygienists Association (AIHA) Workplace 
Environmental Exposure Limit (WEEL) (8 hour time weighted average) for 
R-152a is 1,000 ppm (0.1% v/v), the highest occupational exposure limit 
allowed under standard industrial hygiene practices for any industrial 
chemical. The toxicity profile of R-152a is comparable to R-12 and its 
most prevalent substitute, R-134a. The lowest observed adverse effect 
level for R-152a toxicity (15%) is above the level of flammability 
concern, discussed below, so protecting against flammable 
concentrations protects against potentially toxic conditions as well.
    A wide range of concentrations has been reported for R-152a 
flammability where the gas poses a risk of ignition and fire (3.7%-20% 
by volume in air). Different test conditions, impurities and the 
measurement approach can all contribute to the range of flammable 
concentrations of R-152a. The lower flammability limit (LFL) for R-152a 
has been tested by many laboratories using different testing protocols 
with results ranging from 3.7% to 4.2%. EPA selected the lowest 
reported LFL to assess the potential for passenger exposure and predict 
localized pockets of refrigerant concentrations within the passenger 
compartment. This selection increases confidence that the substitute is 
regulated in a manner that is protective of the general population.

VI. Final Rule Discussion

    This section summarizes the final rule and describes any 
differences between the NPRM and the final rule.
    As proposed in the NPRM, in this final rule, EPA finds R-152a 
acceptable in new motor vehicle air conditioning systems with the use 
condition that systems must be designed to avoid occupant exposure to 
concentrations of R-152a above 3.7% in the passenger cabin free space 
for more than 15 seconds, even in the event of a leak.
    EPA requires prominent labeling of R-152a MVAC systems with a 
warning such as ``CAUTION SYSTEM CONTAINS FLAMMABLE R-152a 
REFRIGERANT--TO BE SERVICED ONLY BY QUALIFIED PERSONNEL.'' Consistent 
with SAE J639 Standard, this label must be mounted in the engine 
compartment on a component that is not normally replaced and where it 
can be easily seen. This label will include refrigerant identification 
information and indicate the refrigerant is flammable. In the final 
rule, EPA has added a reference to the new SAE J2773 Refrigerant 
Guidelines for Safety and Risk Analysis for Use in Mobile Air 
Conditioning Systems standard.
    As proposed, we recommend that additional training for MVAC service 
technicians be provided and that OEMs conduct and keep on file FMEA on 
R-152a systems to ensure that MVAC systems are safe and are designed 
with sufficient risk mitigation devices to ensure that occupants are 
not exposed to R-152a concentrations above 3.7% for more than 15 
seconds in the passenger cabin free space.
    During the public comment period, the U.S. Army Research, 
Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) submitted a revised risk 
analysis of R-152a MVAC systems (Docket Document ID: EPA-HQ-OAR-2004-
0488-0025, now referred to as the Army/EPA assessment. For details, see 
Response to Comments section below). Based on their revised assessment, 
we have modified the effective squib valve activation time from the 
proposed level of 10 seconds to 3 seconds. This revision alters the EPA 
list of potential risk mitigation strategies, but does not impact this 
final rule's regulatory text.

VII. Response to Comments

    EPA requested and received comments on the use conditions and the 
risk mitigation strategies described in the proposal, as well as on 
other related issues. This section summarizes public comment to the 
proposal and describes how comments have been addressed in this final 
rule. The public comments have been grouped by topic.

A. Servicing

    One commenter indicated Clean Air Act Section 609-certified, 
independent MVAC service technicians should be consulted before the 
rule is issued. In response, EPA contacted the National Institute for 
Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), who represents independent MVAC 
service technicians. ASE indicated they did not see any servicing 
issues in the proposal that would impact MVAC service technicians, but 
awaits EPA's follow-on rulemaking under section 609 of the Clean Air 
Act that will address refrigerant recovery and recycling requirements 
for R-152a MVAC systems.
    One commenter said risks associated with MVAC service should be 
considered. EPA has considered risks associated with MVAC service and 
finds that MVAC service technicians already deal with issues of high 
pressure, flammability and toxic materials. We do not believe the 
addition of R-152a with use conditions to the list of acceptable 
substitutes for new MVAC systems will result in any greater risks to 
service technicians and that technician training will alleviate risks 
to service personnel. Another commenter indicated additional training 
for MVAC service technicians should not be required since service 
technicians already deal with

[[Page 33307]]

the issues associated with R-152a. Section 609 technician certification 
is outside the scope of today's section 612 rulemaking; however, EPA 
agrees that additional training for MVAC service technicians is not 
necessary since technicians already deal with flammability issues. EPA 
has not added additional training requirements, but recommends 
additional training on servicing for R-152a MVACs as needed in 
accordance with industry recommendations.
    One commenter requested more information on why EPA is not finding 
R-152a acceptable as a substitute in retrofitted systems. The SNAP 
submission did not seek acceptability for retrofit purposes. EPA's 
proposed action only addressed the uses specified in the SNAP 
submission, which did not request EPA to find R-152a acceptable in 
retrofitted MVAC systems.
    This rulemaking applies to OEMs and not MVAC service shops. A 
separate rulemaking under section 609 of the Clean Air Act will be 
issued to specify new equipment and practices (if any) required in the 
servicing of MVAC systems using the new alternative.

B. Army/EPA Assessment

    The Army and EPA collaborated to conduct the assessment relied upon 
in the NPRM to assess the risks associated with R-152a in MVAC systems. 
EPA received comment on the NPRM, and specifically, the assessment, 
from the Army RDECOM. The Army noted that the amount of R-152a 
originally modeled to enter the passenger compartment as a result of a 
sudden system discharge was significantly less than the amount that 
will be used in MVAC systems because of an incorrect design assumption. 
The Army corrected this inadvertent error and submitted a revised 
analysis (Docket Document ID: EPA-HQ-OAR-2004-0488-0025). An 
unmitigated discharge of R-152a, in full recirculation mode, results in 
a R-152a concentration above the lower flammability limit for more than 
60 minutes. The Army comment also indicated a 3 second, not a 10 second 
squib valve as originally thought, would be needed to ensure that R-
152a can be used safely in new MVAC systems. Informed with this new 
data, EPA still finds that R-152a has risks comparable to R-134a if 
this rule's use conditions are observed, but consistent with the Army's 
analysis, if a squib valve is used, a 3 second, not 10 second squib 
valve will meet the rule's conditions. The revised Army/EPA assessment 
is the analysis document the EPA refers to throughout today's action.
    In reviewing the methodology used by the Army/EPA assessment, one 
commenter pointed out that cars are not hermetically sealed. The EPA 
agrees; the Army/EPA assessment does not assume a hermetically sealed 
passenger compartment.
    EPA requested comment on the potential effects of these 
alternatives on children but received no comment; however, as a matter 
of EPA policy, we have evaluated the environmental health or safety 
effects of the refrigerants on children. The results of this evaluation 
are contained in the Army/EPA assessment. EPA believes that children do 
not suffer a disproportionate effect from R-152a in new MVAC systems. 
The exposure limits and acceptability listings in this rule apply to 
car occupants, and in particular car service technicians. We expect 
adults are more likely to be present than children in MVAC service 
shops and children and adults would be equally impacted by flammability 
concerns in the passenger compartment, thus, the refrigerant does not 
put children at risk disproportionately.

C. Risk Mitigation Strategies

    The use conditions in this final rule specify concentration limits 
for R-152a in vehicle passenger compartments. EPA leaves the choice of 
technical solutions that will meet these concentration limits to the 
OEMs. EPA agrees with one commenter who noted that effective risk 
mitigation strategies can be active or passive.
    One commenter indicated a secondary loop should be required for R-
152a system to minimize flammability risk. The EPA does not intend to 
limit technological innovation by requiring a specific risk mitigation 
strategy, but it does recognize that a secondary loop R-152a system can 
meet the regulatory conditions. Two commenters indicated a 10 second 
squib valve is not sufficient to ensure that R-152a concentrations will 
not exceed 3.7% for 15 seconds. Again, the final rule does not 
prescribe a specific technological requirement; however, it should be 
noted EPA has modified the final rule consistent with the U.S. Army/EPA 
assessment revision that a 3 second squib valve would be required to 
ensure that an accidental discharge of R-152a system would prevent 
passenger compartment concentration of 3.7% for 15 seconds.
    One commenter asked EPA to consider modifying the R-152a use 
condition from a concentration performance standard to one that 
specifies that the evaporator reaches residual evaporator pressure 
within 15 seconds of leak detection. EPA has considered this option. 
The commenter's suggested standard would not eliminate the potential 
for a flammable concentration of R-152a in the passenger compartment 
for an extended amount of time, i.e., more than 15 seconds. EPA finds 
its original proposal to be a technically feasible use condition that 
is more protective of possible flammable situations than the 
commenter's suggestion.

D. Industry Standards

    Commenters indicated that SAE is developing standards for safety 
and servicing of alternative refrigerant MVAC systems. EPA notes that 
both the text of the SNAP regulatory conditions issued here, and 
additional information in the ``Comments'' column of the regulation 
reference the relevant SAE technical standards to promote consistency 
with established industry practices. Specifically, the rule use 
conditions reference the SAE J639 standard, Safety Standards for Motor 
Vehicle Refrigerant Vapor Compressions Systems Industry and SAE J2773, 
Refrigerant Guidelines for Safety and Risk Analysis for Use in Mobile 
Air Conditioning Systems. The ``Comments'' column references SAE J1739, 
Potential Failure Mode and Effects Analysis in Design (Design FMEA) and 
Potential Failure Mode and Effects Analysis in Manufacturing and 
Assembly Processes (Process FMEA) and Effects Analysis for Machinery 
(Machinery FMEA). SAE is also developing a standard for the measurement 
of R-152a in the passenger compartment that can be used to verify if a 
MVAC system design meets the requirements of this rulemaking.

E. Use Conditions

    Two commenters indicated the need for clarity on whether the use 
conditions apply when the ignition is off as well as when the ignition 
is on. In response, the Agency clarified in the regulatory text that 
the use conditions apply only when the ignition is on.
    One commenter stated that a vehicle crash could be so severe that 
the MVAC system evaporator could be damaged and possibly, reduce a risk 
mitigation system's effectiveness. The commenter proposed the inclusion 
of an evaporator crush resistance standard in this action. The final 
regulation requires that engineering strategies and/or devices shall be 
incorporated into the system such that ``foreseeable leaks'' into the 
passenger compartment do not result in elevated concentrations. While 
EPA understands that it is possible that a severe accident could damage 
an evaporator, we believe that in such case,

[[Page 33308]]

the damage to the car would be so severe as to result in inflow of 
ambient air, thus negating any risk associated with potentially 
elevated R-152a concentration.
    Other use conditions already established in Appendix D to subpart G 
of 40 CFR Part 82, Subpart G, Appendix D are applicable to all 
substitute refrigerants in MVAC systems (e.g. unique fittings and 
labels).

VIII. Final Rule Summary

    EPA finds R-152a acceptable with use conditions for new motor 
vehicle air conditioning (MVAC) systems. New R-152a systems must be 
designed to avoid occupant exposure to concentrations of R-152a above 
3.7% in the passenger cabin free space for more than 15 seconds, even 
in the event of a leak.
    EPA requires prominent labeling of R-152a MVAC systems with a 
warning such as ``CAUTION SYSTEM CONTAINS FLAMMABLE R-152a 
REFRIGERANT--TO BE SERVICED ONLY BY QUALIFIED PERSONNEL.'' Consistent 
with SAE J639 Standard, this label will be mounted in the engine 
compartment on a component that is not normally replaced and where it 
can be easily seen. This label will include refrigerant identification 
information and indicate that the refrigerant is flammable.
    Additionally, the final rule recommends additional training for 
MVAC service technicians and that OEMs conduct and keep on file R-152a 
systems FMEA to ensure that MVAC systems are safe and are designed with 
sufficient risk mitigation devices to ensure that occupants are not 
exposed to R-152a concentrations above 3.7% for more than 15 seconds in 
the passenger cabin free space.

IX. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review

    Under Executive Order 12866, (58 FR 51735; October 4, 1993) this 
action is a ``significant regulatory action.'' Accordingly, EPA 
submitted this action to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for 
review under Executive Order 12866 and any changes made in response to 
OMB recommendations have been documented in the docket for this action.

B. Paperwork Reduction Act

    This action does not impose any new information collection burden. 
Today's action is an Agency determination. It contains no new 
requirements for reporting. The only new recordkeeping requirement 
involves customary business practice. Today's rule requires minimal 
record-keeping of studies done to ensure that MVAC systems using R-152a 
meet the requirements set forth in this rule. Because it is customary 
business practice that OEMs conduct and keep on file Failure Mode and 
Effect Analysis (FMEA) on any potentially hazardous part or system, we 
believe this requirement will not impose an additional paperwork 
burden. However, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has 
previously approved the information collection requirements contained 
in the existing regulations in subpart G of 40 CFR part 82 under the 
provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. and 
has assigned OMB control numbers 2060-0226. The OMB control numbers for 
EPA's regulations are listed in 40 CFR Part 9.

C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (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.
    For purposes of assessing the impacts of today's rule on small 
entities, small entity is defined as: (1) A small business as defined 
by the Small Business Administration's (SBA) regulations at 13 CFR 
121.201; for NAICS code 336111 (Automobile manufacturing), it is <1000 
employees; for NAICS code 336391 (Motor Vehicle Air-Conditioning 
Manufacturing), it is <750 employees; (2) a small governmental 
jurisdiction that is a government of a city, county, town, school 
district or special district with a population of less than 50,000; and 
(3) a small organization that is any not-for-profit enterprise which is 
independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.
    After considering the economic impacts of today's final rule on 
small entities, EPA certifies that this action will not have a 
significant adverse economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. This final rule will not impose any new requirements on small 
entities and is expected to relieve burden for some small entities.
    OEMs are not mandated to move to R-152a MVAC systems. EPA is simply 
listing R-152a as an acceptable alternative with use conditions in new 
MVAC systems. This rule allows the use of this alternative to ozone 
depleting substances in the MVAC sector and outlines the conditions 
necessary for safe use. By approving this refrigerant under SNAP, EPA 
provides additional choice to the automotive industry which, if 
adopted, would reduce the impact of MVACs on the global environment. 
This rulemaking does not mandate the use of R-152a as a refrigerant in 
new MVACs.

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), Public 
Law 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 to State, local, and tribal governments, in 
the aggregate, or to 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. 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. Today's rule does not affect State, local,

[[Page 33309]]

or tribal governments. The enforceable requirements of today's rule 
related to integrating risk mitigation devices and documenting the 
safety of alternative MVAC systems affect only a small number of OEMs. 
This action provides additional technical options allowing greater 
flexibility for industry in designing consumer products. The impact of 
this rule on the private sector will be less than $100 million per 
year. Thus, today's rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 
202 and 205 of the UMRA. EPA has determined that this rule contains no 
regulatory requirements that might significantly or uniquely affect 
small governments. This regulation applies directly to facilities that 
use these substances and not to governmental entities. This rule does 
not mandate a switch to R-152a and the limited direct economic impact 
on entities from this rulemaking is less than $100 million annually.

E. 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.''
    This action does not have federalism implications. It will not have 
substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between 
the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power 
and responsibilities among the various levels of government, as 
specified in Executive Order 13132. This regulation applies directly to 
facilities that use these substances and not to governmental entities. 
Thus, Executive Order 13132 does not apply to this rule.

F. 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.'' This final rule does not have 
tribal implications, as specified in Executive Order 13175. It does not 
significantly or uniquely affect the communities of Indian tribal 
governments, because this regulation applies directly to facilities 
that use these substances and not to governmental entities. Thus, 
Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this rule.

G. 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. The exposure limits and 
acceptability listings in this rule apply to car occupants, and in 
particular car drivers and service technicians. We expect adults are 
more likely to be present than children in MVAC service shops and 
children and adults would be equally impacted by flammability concerns 
in the passenger compartment, thus, the refrigerant does not put 
children at risk disproportionately. As a matter of EPA policy, 
however, we have evaluated the environmental health or safety effects 
of the refrigerants on children. The results of this evaluation are 
contained in ``Risk Analysis for Alternative Refrigerant in Motor 
Vehicle Air Conditioning.''
    During the public comment period, the public was invited to submit 
or identify peer-reviewed studies and data, of which the agency may not 
be aware, that assess the potential effects of these alternatives on 
children and the Agency received no comments addressing this issue.

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

    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 FR 28355 
(May 22, 2001)) because it is not likely to have a significant adverse 
effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. This action would 
impact manufacturing and repair alternative MVAC systems. Preliminary 
information indicates that these new systems are more energy efficient 
than currently available systems in some climates. Therefore, we 
conclude that this rule is not likely to have any adverse effects on 
energy supply, distribution or use.

I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    As noted in the proposed rule, Section 12(d) of the National 
Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (``NTTAA''), Public Law 
104-113, Section 12(d) (15 U.S.C. 272 note) directs EPA to use 
voluntary consensus standards in regulatory activities unless to do so 
would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. 
Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., materials 
specifications, test methods, sampling procedures, and business 
practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus 
standards bodies. The NTTAA directs EPA to provide Congress, through 
OMB, explanations when the Agency decides not to use available and 
applicable voluntary consensus standards. This rulemaking involves 
technical standards. EPA has decided to use the SAE most recent 
versions of J639, J1739 and J2773. These standards can be obtained from 
http://www.sae.org/technical/standards/. These standards address safety 
and reliability issues concerning alternative refrigerant MVAC systems.

J. Congressional Review Act

    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. A major rule cannot 
take effect until 60 days after it is published in the Federal 
Register. This action is not a ``major rule'' as

[[Page 33310]]

defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2). This rule will be effective August 11, 
2008.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 82

    Environmental protection, Motor vehicle air-conditioning, Reporting 
and recordkeeping requirements, Stratospheric ozone layer.

    Dated: June 5, 2008.
Stephen L. Johnson,
Administrator.

0
For the reasons set out in the preamble, 40 CFR part 82 is amended as 
follows:

PART 82--PROTECTION OF STRATOSPHERIC OZONE

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

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

Subpart G--Significant New Alternatives Policy Program

0
2. Appendix B to Subpart G is amended as follows:
0
a. In the first table by adding one new entry to the end of the table.
0
b. In the table titled ``Refrigerants--Unacceptable Substitutes'' by 
revising the entry for ``CFC-12 Motor Vehicle Air Conditioners 
(Retrofit and New Equipment/NIKs)''.

Appendix B to Subpart G of Part 82--Substitutes Subject to Use 
Restrictions and Unacceptable Substitutes



                               Refrigerants--Acceptable Subject to use Conditions
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
           Application                Substitute           Decision           Conditions           Comments
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
CFC-12 Automobile Motor Vehicle   R-152a as a         Acceptable subject  Engineering         Additional
 Air Conditioning (New equipment   substitute for      to use conditions.  strategies and/or   training for
 only).                            CFC-12.                                 devices shall be    service
                                                                           incorporated into   technicians
                                                                           the system such     recommended.
                                                                           that foreseeable   Manufacturers
                                                                           leaks into the      should conduct
                                                                           passenger           and keep on file
                                                                           compartment do      failure mode and
                                                                           not result in R-    Effect Analysis
                                                                           152a                (FMEA) on the
                                                                           concentrations of   MVAC as stated in
                                                                           3.7% v/v or above   SAE J1739.
                                                                           in any part of
                                                                           the free space\1\
                                                                           inside the
                                                                           passenger
                                                                           compartment for
                                                                           more than 15
                                                                           seconds when the
                                                                           car ignition is
                                                                           on.
                                                                          Manufacturers must
                                                                           adhere to all the
                                                                           safety
                                                                           requirements
                                                                           listed in the
                                                                           Society of
                                                                           Automotive
                                                                           Engineers (SAE)
                                                                           Standard J639,
                                                                           including unique
                                                                           fittings and a
                                                                           flammable
                                                                           refrigerant
                                                                           warning label as
                                                                           well as SAE
                                                                           Standard J2773.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Free space is defined as the space inside the passenger compartment excluding the space enclosed by the
  ducting in the HVAC module.


                                     Refrigerants--Unacceptable Substitutes
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
               End-use                        Substitute                Decision                 Comments
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
CFC-12 Motor Vehicle Air Conditioners  R-405A.................  Unacceptable...........  R-405A contains R-c318,
 (Retrofit and New Equipment/NIKs).                                                       a PFC, which has an
                                                                                          extremely high GWP and
                                                                                          lifetime. Other
                                                                                          Substitutes exist
                                                                                          which do not contain
                                                                                          PFCs.
                                       Hydrocarbon Blend B....  Unacceptable...........  Flammability is a
                                                                                          serious concern. Data
                                                                                          have not been
                                                                                          submitted to
                                                                                          demonstrate it can be
                                                                                          used safely in this
                                                                                          end-use.
                                       Flammable Substitutes,   Unacceptable...........  The risks associated
                                        other than R-152a.                                with using flammable
                                                                                          substitutes (except R-
                                                                                          152a) in this end-use
                                                                                          have not been
                                                                                          addressed by a risk
                                                                                          assessment. R-152a may
                                                                                          be used with the use
                                                                                          conditions in Appendix
                                                                                          B to this subpart.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 33311]]

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[FR Doc. E8-13086 Filed 6-11-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P