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The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) announced that it submitted testimony to the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee regarding S. 2756, the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act of 2019. The AIM Act is legislation pending in Congress that would phase down hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants in the United States.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee announced it was accepting public testimony from interested parties regarding the AIM Act. ACCA’s testimony calls for Congress to strengthen the AIM Act and advance it through the legislative process.
ACCA’s testimony calls for the AIM Act to be amended and include preemption language that would prohibit states from enacting separate phasedown schedules and rules. Due to California’s efforts to implement a state phasedown, ACCA believes that Congress must establish a unified phasedown schedule that will provide certainty to contractors.
“ACCA’s Board of Directors unanimously approves amending the AIM Act to include preemption language. Having served on the Industry’s Safe Refrigerant Transition Task Force since its founding more than a year ago, it is clear that contractors need certainty and do not want states playing politics with refrigerant regulations to see which state can phasedown HFCs the fastest and beef up their climate change credentials,” said Lanny Huffman, ACCA chairman of the board and president of Hickory Sheet Metal Co., Hickory, North Carolina. “As a business that has been operating for more than ninety years, we have seen our fair share of refrigerant changes. However, the next phasedown, which will lead to the introduction of A2L mildly flammable refrigerants is a wholly different phasedown that raises significant concerns in the contracting industry and to our customers. We have to get this right the first time, and we must have a unified approach across the U.S. to ensure the introduction of A2L refrigerants is done safely.”
ACCA also calls for Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restrict the sale of refrigerants and HVACR systems to only trained and certified individuals. ACCA acknowledges that consumers and other unqualified individuals can easily purchase products without proper credentials, and ACCA wants the AIM Act updated to require anyone purchasing refrigerants or HVACR systems to have their EPA certifications.
Barton James, ACCA president and CEO said, “it is well known that non-certified and unqualified individuals are easily able to purchase refrigerants and HVACR equipment from supply houses and online retailers. ACCA supports adding language to the AIM Act that would restrict the sale of refrigerants and HVACR systems to EPA certified individuals. Too many individuals that are untrained on the environmental and safety issues of refrigerants and HVACR systems can purchase these products, and cause serious harm to the environment, the efficiency of HVACR systems, and likely the lifespan of the equipment.
“Any organization that claims to support professionalism and excellence in the HVACR industry should be advocating for these issues," he continued. "It appears that some for-profit organizations that provide certifications and credentialing in the HVACR industry are not talking to contractors, and might be looking at what is best for them financially instead of what is best for the contractor including their safety. Through our lobbying and advocacy work, we fight to make sure the voice of the contractor is heard throughout our industry, as well as with local, federal, and state-level decision-makers."
The testimony of Barton James before the Environment and Public Works Committee U.S. Senate can be read online. For additional information, contact Deb Weiner, ACCA manager of communications and strategic partnerships, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-824-8862.