The Senate Environment and Energy Committee on March 14, 2019, held a hearing on ESHB 1112 (ESHB refers to Engraved Substitute House Bill). The bill, which passed the House, would phase out use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) over the next five years, as follows:
- January 1, 2020, for propellants, foam blowing agents such as polyurethane or spray foam, and supermarket systems, stand-alone systems, remote condensing units, and vending machines;
- January 1, 2021, for refrigerated food processing and dispensing equipment, compact residential consumer refrigeration products, polystyrene extruded boardstock and billet, and rigid polyurethane low-pressure two component spray foam;
- January 1, 2022, for residential consumer refrigeration products, except compact and built-in residential consumer refrigeration products;
- January 1,2023, for built-in consumer refrigeration products and cold storage warehouses; and
- January 1, 2024, for centrifugal chillers and positive displacement chillers.
HFCs were substituted for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) after the Montreal Protocol phased them out in the 1990s, but it was discovered that HFCs have a high warming potential. In 2018, members of the Montreal Protocol amended it with the Kigali Amendment to phase out HFCs. You can take action on the bill by clicking on ESHB 1112, and click on “Comment on this Bill” where you can make a comment. The comment link will take you to a page that requests your address and email information, a button where you can indicate support, oppose or neutral. You need to make a comment but it can be short – “please support the bill.”
Sponsor Joe Fitzgibbons (D-Seattle) spoke in favor, said it is an effective GHG reduction at low cost, and it is a significant greenhouse gas since HFCs have a potency of 100 to 10,000 times carbon dioxide. He said that four other states are also acting to phase out HFCs. A representative of Honeywell supported it, and said it provides certainty and reliability. It will only affect manufacturers, not consumers. A representative of League of Women Voters noted that 196 other nations have supported the Kigali Amendment and Washington should support it. A representative of Alliance of Home Appliance Manufacturers also supported it and said that the alliance has participated in drafting it. It is widely supported.
A representative of the Food Industry Association opposed it unless it is amended to delay implementation for two years. The association has concerns about cost, and questions the preparation of manufacturers for statewide rollout. Representatives of the Air Conditioning Association and Arkema (a HVAC company) also opposed the bill because they will need time for training of contractors working with alternative refrigerants that are flammable.