HB 1050 addresses the leakage of HFC (Hydrofluorocarbon), a greenhouse gas approximately 10,000 times as potent as CO2, although it is in much smaller concentrations (parts per trillion) than CO2 (parts per million). It was developed to replace CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) when it was discovered that CFCs depleted the ozone layer. Although better than CFCs for solving ozone depletion, HFCs were discovered to be highly potent GHGs. Provisions:
- Applies certain existing regulations addressing emissions of ozone depleting substances to HFCs.
- Directs the Department of Ecology (Ecology) to establish a refrigerant management program to address refrigerant emissions from large air conditioning and refrigeration systems.
- Requires Ecology to provide recommendations to the Legislature by December 1, 2021, regarding the design of a program to address the end-of-life management and disposal of refrigerants.
- Establishes a state purchasing and procurement preference for recycled refrigerants.
- Requires consideration of HFC emissions in mandatory utility conservation activities and in codes adopted by the State Building Code Council.
The bill has been advanced by the Environment and Energy Committee and the Appropriations Committee, and passed the House by a vote of 56 to 40. It passed the Senate Environment and Energy Committee, and Ways and Means Committee, and passed the Senate by a vote of 30 to 19, so it is likely to become law.
A Hearing of the House Environment and Energy Committee on 1/15/21 had the following discussion of the bill:
Staff: A federal law passed in 2020 compels industry to cap HFC production and use, so that there is an 85% reduction by 2036. This means that new products must be engineered to use alternatives. HFCs are 4% of WA emissions, and current state law addresses downstream changes in practices to achieve WA reduction goals over time, with a concentration on end-of-life. How would federal and WA government work together? Federal law does not preempt WA law, which is well underway. The federal program will take years to get going. WA should consider climate-friendly criteria to existing refrigeration equipment. Most important application, heat pumps, which are not now use restricted. End-of-life disposal and venting are currently most important source of HFCs in atmosphere.
Committee Staff: Bill amends state actions on GHGs to make them applicable to HFCs, amends 2019 provisions to enhance compliance and extend coverage to more uses. Department of Ecology is directed to extend its rules to more uses. Sixteen other states have similar laws.
Sponsor: Fitzgibbons (D-Seattle): we need to extend the bill to air conditioners, where HFC alternatives have become available, and we need to concentrate on end-of-life disposal where leaks are significant. Air Conditioning and Heating Institute: we represent 300 enterprises, and we have supported both the state and the federal law. However, state building codes need to be updated for safety standards. We support HB 1050 with changes in safety provisions. Honeywell: we have developed alternatives to HFCs, and support the bill, particularly thee 2025 transition date for air conditioning equipment. We would like to change bill to allow some changes in building and auto repair rules. Environmental Investigation Agency: based in DC, we follow international negotiations. HFC rules address a major source of GHG and will cooperate with state staff to provide data on reductions under the state law. End-of-life problems can be addressed with a fee based program for incentives for proper disposal. North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council: we support including incentive programs for both indirect and direct HFC use replacement. We suggest using California refrigeration standards, which are stronger than the bill. Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development: cost of change is less than 1% so arguments on costs are not sound. Many new products also do not use HFCs. Recharging auto air conditioners can release the equivalence of 3000 tons of CO2. NRDC (National Resouce Defence Council): U.S. is embarking on reducing HFCs, and this bill would make it easier for WA residents to reduce emissions. We urge HB 1050 to align with CA law.
WA Fruit Growers: because of pandemic, fruit growers have major expenses and would have difficulty financing changes in their equipment at $3000 to 10,000 per unit. Association of Washington Business: we oppose timing of bill, only two years after previous HFC bill, since we need more data on effect of bill. Northwest Grocery Association: we use state-or-art equipment to be compliant with the 2019 bill but further changes in this bill will result in significant costs. Household and Consumer Products Association: we oppose including consumer products that have very low global-warming effect, such as insecticides and other aerosols. Washington Hospitality Association: we are concerned because of pandemic effects, closures of restaurants. Costs of replacement of refrigeration units will further threaten the industry. Washington Air Conditioning Association: We are concerned about timing, too soon after 2019 law, and the press of work of contractors during the pandemic.