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Tonko-Olson Bill Supporting American HVAC Manufacturing Gets Review

Committee considers bipartisan legislation endorsed by U.S. Chamber, National Association of Manufacturers

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Washington, January 14, 2020 | comments

WASHINGTON—Congressman Paul D. Tonko (D-NY), Chairman of the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, and Congressman Pete Olson (R-TX) spoke at a hearing today on their bill, H.R. 5544, the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Leadership Act, bipartisan legislation supported by the U.S. manufacturing industry that would spur innovation in replacing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), coolants primarily used in air conditioning and refrigerators, with more environmentally sound alternatives. 

“American companies are at the cutting edge in developing technologies to replace HFC refrigerants, an environmentally sound transition that will support the creation of 33,000 new U.S. manufacturing jobs and $12.5 billion more in manufacturing production every single year,” Rep. Tonko said. “Our American businesses know that any lagging on our part will open the door for China and other nations to step in and reap the rewards. My thanks to Congressman Olson for leading with me to advance this common-sense bipartisan bill supporting a vital American industry and the many families and communities who depend on it.”

“It’s not every day that both industry and environmental groups are in lockstep on a prescriptive solution to help American companies better compete internationally,” Olson stated. “However, the AIM Act achieves this goal. This is a common-sense solution that will allow American companies to compete globally, improve our environment and provide needed certainty for a critical industry.  It’s no surprise that this bill’s Senate companion enjoys strong bipartisan backing. I urge my colleagues in the House to join Reps. Tonko, Stefanik, Peters and me in support of this common-sense, pro-business, pro-environment legislation.”

The AIM Act gives needed certainty to the HVACR industry, delivers a streamlined regulatory procedure and provides consumers with more efficient cooling and refrigeration products. The bill will provide a responsible phase down of HFC’s and will stimulate additional economic benefits by creating an additional 33,000 manufacturing jobs, improving the U.S. trade balance in equipment and chemicals by $12.5 billion annually and increasing exports by $5 billion. Studies forecast the overall contribution to the HVACR industry will be 2.5 million jobs and $621 billion in economic output by 2027. Reps. Scott Peters (D-CA) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) join Tonko and Olson as original co-sponsors.

“This bipartisan legislation is fundamentally a product of working with industry to create jobs while implementing regulations to curb HFCs in the atmosphere. This bill shows that economic prosperity is not mutually exclusive of environmental quality,” Rep. Peters said.

“I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation to bring jobs and innovation to our manufacturing and technology industries,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “This legislation will not only create jobs and boost our manufacturing economy, but also phase out the use of environmentally harmful refrigerants. By keeping American technology and manufacturing at the forefront of this shift in the global market, we can continue our leadership in developing and exporting climate-friendly technologies to world.”

The AIM Leadership Act, which has a companion bipartisan bill in the United States Senate introduced by Sens. Kennedy (R-LA) and Carper (D-DE), relies on three key components:

  • A market-based allocation system for the producers of HFC compounds that gradually phases down their production and use
  • A flexible program for future user sectors to achieve the transition of the user technology sectors
  • A heightened emphasis for improved management of refrigerant substances where relevant

Passage of the AIM Act would accomplish three main goals:

  • Gradually phase down the production and consumption of HFCs over a 15-year period via an allowance allocation and trading program
  • Authorize the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish standards for the management of HFCs used as refrigerants, such as in equipment servicing and repair, and for the recovery of “used” HFCs for purification and resale, allowing for a safe and efficient transition out of HFCs
  • Authorizing EPA to establish sector-based use restrictions as a way to facilitate transitions to next-generation refrigerant technologies

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