Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis - Adopted Part 494

6 NYCRR Part 494, Hydrofluorocarbon Standards and Reporting

1. Effect of Rule:

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing to adopt prohibitions on the use of certain hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) substances in certain end-uses. The proposed rulemaking applies statewide. Part 494 would adopt provisions similar to those in rules promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pursuant to the Clean Air Act and Significant New Alternatives Program (SNAP) in 2015 and 2016 but have since been partially vacated by the courts. The EPA analyzed the nationwide economic impacts of these rules in their rulemakings and found that there would be no significant costs to small businesses. Specifically, the majority of businesses, including small businesses, affected by the national rules were retail food operations that were not expected to incur a change in costs, for example because 'drop-in' alternatives would still be allowed. In total, 99% of the small business that EPA determined would be affected by their rule were found to have zero additional costs. Of the remaining 442 small businesses nationwide that would incur a cost, 69 were expected to have costs in excess of 3% of annual sales, i.e., fewer than 100 businesses nationwide and fewer than 20% of affected entities. Therefore, the Department believes that the effects are mitigated by the scope of the proposed rule, which only applies to newly-manufactured or installed products or equipment and to end-uses for which safe alternatives are already available on the market, as determined by the EPA. The proposed rule also provides flexibility based on safety and other considerations and includes the exemptions that accompanied these prohibitions when they were adopted in the EPA SNAP Program. Finally, in order to ensure compliance and provide for enforceability, the proposed rule requires disclosure and record-keeping requirements on covered end-uses.

2. Compliance Requirements:

This is not a mandate on local governments. Local governments have no additional compliance obligations as compared to other subject entities. The proposed rulemaking establishes prohibitions on certain hydrofluorocarbon substances in specific end-uses, including equipment or products in air-conditioning, refrigeration, aerosol propellant, or foam-blowing. The proposed rulemaking further mandates record-keeping and written disclosure statement requirements on certain manufacturers.

3. Professional Services:

There is no specific requirement or need for entities to contract for professional services in order to comply with the proposed rule., and the Department does not believe that regulated entities would need to acquire professional services to comply with Part 494.

4. Compliance Costs:

Based on the analysis of costs and economic impacts conducted by the EPA, compliance costs are expected to be insignificant.

5. Economic and Technological Feasibility:

Compliance with this rule is technologically feasible for all entities, including small businesses and local governments. The feasibility of this rule was determined in the EPA rulemaking processes, during which the specific end-uses included in the rules were determined to be those for which alternatives are available on the market.

6. Minimizing Adverse Impact:

The Department has considered the issues and determined that Part 494 will not have an adverse impact on small businesses or local governments. The ability to comply with Part 494 will not be influenced by whether the regulatory provisions apply to a local government or small business, as compared to some other entity. Additionally, most if not all of the small businesses directly affected by Part 494, i.e. retail food operations, are required under the federal phase-down of ozone-depleting substances to replace non-compliant equipment. These businesses will not be required under this proposal to make a full transition away from HFC-based refrigerants, but are allowed to continue to use many existing HFC refrigerants that are lower cost than the climate-friendly alternatives. Additionally, the national prohibitions on aerosol propellants went into effect in 2016. As such, this rulemaking should not have an adverse impact as the affected businesses, such as the retailers of consumer products, were already expected be in compliance.

7. Small Business and Local Government Participation:

The Department conducted pre-proposal, stakeholder outreach throughout 2019, beginning with two public webinars held on November 14 and 18, 2018 to discuss the likely provisions of Part 494. Additional meetings regarding specific sectors also occurred, such as a meeting with the equipment manufacturing sector on December 11, 2018 and the foam-blowing sector on February 26, 2019. The stakeholder groups consisted of the regulated community to be affected by the proposed regulation, consultants, and interested environmental advocacy groups. The Department will hold public hearings on Part 494 and small businesses and local governments will be able to comment on the proposed rule during the notice and comment period.