March 2, 2020 View Web Version | Text Only Version
AHRI’s up-to-the-minute report to members about important policy issues affecting our industry at the national, state, and global level.
Federal Government Relations
American Energy Innovation Act Up for Consideration This Week

On February 27, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced the much-anticipated bipartisan Senate energy legislation. The energy bill, the American Energy Innovation Act of 2020, is made up of the dozens of bills passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee with bipartisan support during this Congress.  

The bill is expected to be brought up for consideration on the Senate floor the week of March 2, with first votes on amendments as early as Wednesday, March 4. An amendment process for the energy bill has not yet been determined; it is possible that hundreds of amendments to the Senate energy package will be filed. It is also unclear how long the energy bill is expected to be on the Senate floor for consideration, but the Senate is scheduled to be out on recess the week of March 16.  

One of the amendments expected to be filed to the Senate energy package is the AIM Act (S. 2754). The amendment should be filed by Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), the lead Republican co-sponsor of the AIM Act. It is important to note that most of the amendments filed to the Senate energy bill will not be considered. We do not know whether the Kennedy amendment will be brought up for a vote at this time. 

However, in anticipation of a vote on Senator Kennedy’s AIM Act amendment, it is critical that members reach out to their Senate offices as soon as possible to ensure we have support for the AIM Act (S. 2754). It is also important to reach out to existing Senate AIM Act co-sponsors to confirm we would have their vote in support of Senator Kennedy’s AIM Act amendment.

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State Government Relations
State Legislative Overview

By the end of this week, 43 state legislatures and Puerto Rico will be back in session. AHRI staff are actively monitoring bill introductions across the country and are tracking any that align with AHRI's state legislative priorities. So far, we've identified 132 bills of interest, including legislation concerning such topics as decarbonization/electrification, cybersecurity and internet of things, demand response, single-use plastic bans, energy standards and programs, right-to-repair, hydrofluorocarbons, and warranties.  

To follow along as these bills move through the legislative process, or to learn more  about the bills AHRI has identified, please see the state legislative tracking sheet. For your reference, you can access the 2020 state legislative calendar by clicking here

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Electrification Tracking Sheet

With a rising number of cities, counties, and states considering policies designed to transition to electric from fossil fuel-powered appliances, AHRI has created a document that will be updated regularly to keep members informed as these electrification measures are introduced.

Building electrification became a national trend in 2019 which continues in 2020 as more and more cities are committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change. These measures include various forms of local building codes, ordinances, incentives, or other performance standards to ensure a transition to cleaner-energy buildings.

Please click here to review the document.

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NYSERDA Webinar: Reducing the GWP of Refrigerants & Building Decarbonization

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will host a virtual roundtable discussion around current and future regulations and the role they will play in electrifying New York’s building stock and reaching 100% carbon neutrality by 2040. The discussion will address the climate impact of refrigerant use, low-global warming potential (GWP) alternatives, and the associated technology and cost impacts, and how NYSERDA can help minimize the risk of refrigerant leakage. This meeting is an opportunity for stakeholders to provide feedback on the proposed roadmap to carbon neutrality. To register for this event, click here.

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California AG Becerra Urges Expansion of CCPA Through Federal Privacy Legislation

On February 25, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra(D) sent a letter to members of Congress with an update on the implementation of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The CCPA is California's monumental data privacy law that went into effect on January 1; many AHRI members now need to comply with the law's requirements. 

In the letter, Becerra urged Congress to use federal legislation to build on, rather than preempt, the consumer rights and privacy protections made possible by the CCPA or other state law. 

Becerra further emphasized that Congress should provide consumers with greater enforcement power and be a partner to the states in the work of protecting consumer privacy. It was also stressed that any legislative proposal should extend enforcement powers to both state attorneys general and to consumers through a private right of action. The letter specifically noted, “Congress should make clear in any legislative proposal that state attorneys general have parallel enforcement authority and that consumers also have the opportunity to protect their rights directly through a private right of action.”  

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Regulatory Update
DOE Publishes Final Process Rule, Notice for Economic Considerations

On February 14, the Department of Energy (DOE) published in the Federal Register the Procedures for Use in New or Revised Energy Conservation Standards and Test Procedures for Consumer Products and Commercial/Industrial Equipment rule, more commonly known as the Process Rule. This document, which AHRI strongly supports,outlines binding rules that DOE must follow when it develops new or updated energy conservation standards. Provisions to initiate an expeditious early look at costs and benefits and changes in equipment technology when determining whether a new standard is justified, as well as requiring early stakeholder engagement in rulemakings are of critical importance to the industry, as is defining the threshold for "significant energy savings" at .3 quads, or a 10 percent efficiency improvement, over 30 years for each covered product category.  In a previous version of this rule, “significant energy savings” were undefined and left to the discretion of the agency.

DOE also released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) pertaining to the “walk down” approach used to assess trial standards levels to set energy conservation standards. AHRI is working with AHAM and NEMA on joint association comments, and we will circulate a draft for member input. Comments on the NOPR are due on March 16.
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EPA Opens Comment Period, Meetings for Trichloroethylene Risk Assessment

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Federal Register notice on February 26,  inviting interested parties to participate in the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) trichloroethylene (TCE) risk evaluation. TCE is a chemical re-agent used in the manufacture of refrigerants. The EPA will perform a risk evaluation of TCE under TSCA to determine whether it presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment.

The EPA will hold a virtual meeting tomorrow - March 3, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. EST. Registration must be completed before March 3. The agency will also hold an in-person meeting March 24-26, from 8:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. each day. The TSCA Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) will review copies of public comments submitted by March 18, for consideration at the meeting. Attendees interested in presenting oral comments at the in-person meeting should submit requests on or before March 18.

The EPA will accept TCE risk evaluation comments until April 27. Commenters are encouraged to use the public docket.

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EPA Signs Final Revisions to Section 608 Refrigerant Management Regulations

On February 26, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed the final rule Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Revisions to the Refrigerant Management Program’s Extension to Substitutes. This action rescinds the November 18, 2016, extension of the leak repair provisions to appliances using substitute refrigerants, such as hydrofluorocarbons. This action does not rescind the applicability of the other 40 CFR Part 82 Subpart F provisions that were extended to substitute refrigerants, such as the sales restriction and technician certification requirement, safe disposal requirements, evacuation requirements, reclamation standards, and requirement to use certified recovery equipment. Likewise, this action does not affect the requirements for appliances containing ozone-depleting refrigerants.  

An advance copy of the rule is available at https://www.epa.gov/section608/revised-section-608-refrigerant-management-regulations which will be updated once the rule is published in the Federal Register. This final rule will be effective 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register. To view the public docket in the Federal Register, visit www.regulations.gov and search for docket number EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0629.

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Global
USTR Grants Section 301 China Exclusions AHRI Member Products Not Affected

On February 25, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published a Federal Register notice announcing additional Section 301 tariff exclusion approvals for products imported from China. The only approved product exclusion came from products on List 2, which were subject to tariffs effective August 23, 2018, and cover approximately $16 billion worth of goods from China.

The approved exclusion is retroactive to September 24, 2018, and applies to all importers of the approved products (not only to the entity that made the exclusion request). Tariff exclusions will be valid until October 1.

AHRI staff reviewed the list and did not identify any member products among those granted a tariff exclusion. AHRI staff recommends that members review the notice for a comprehensive assessment specific to individual member companies. For a full list of AHRI products and components affected by Section 301 tariffs, consult AHRI's Tariff Tracker
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In This Issue
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Federal Government Relations
American Energy Innovation Act Up for Consideration This Week
State Government Relations
State Legislative Overview
Electrification Tracking Sheet
NYSERDA Webinar: Reducing the GWP of Refrigerants & Building Decarbonization
California AG Becerra Urges Expansion of CCPA Through Federal Privacy Legislation
Regulatory Update
DOE Publishes Final Process Rule, Notice for Economic Considerations
EPA Opens Comment Period, Meetings for Trichloroethylene Risk Assessment
EPA Signs Final Revisions to Section 608 Refrigerant Management Regulations
Global
USTR Grants Section 301 China Exclusions AHRI Member Products Not Affected
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Resources
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State Legislative Tracking Sheet
Last updated  2/28/2020
 
Electrification Tracking Sheet
Last updated 2/18/2020
 
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AHRI Staff
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Federal Policy Analyst
 
Deputy General Counsel
 
Anita Chan
International/Regulatory Affairs Specialist
 
Caroline Davidson-Hood
General Counsel
 
Nick Harbeck
Industry Analyst
 
Makenzie Horrigan
Analyst, International Affairs

Jennifer Kane
Regulatory Engineer 

Michael LaGiglia

Director, International Affairs
 
Allison Maginot
Director, Government Relations
 
State Policy Analyst
 
Senior Regulatory Advisor-Cooling Technology Lead
 
Vice President, Government Affairs
 
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs

James Walters
Vice President, International Affairs
 
Xudong Wang
Vice President, Research

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Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute
2311 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201

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