WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee and John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced legislation, the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, to provide much-needed certainty for American manufacturers as the global community transitions to next generation coolants. The legislation represents a bipartisan effort that brings together the manufacturing industry and environmental groups to preserve jobs across the nation while also protecting the environment. Action is needed to ensure that the U.S. remains competitive as businesses embrace new innovations.
Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) joined Sens. Carper and Kennedy as original cosponsors.
At issue are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that are used as coolants in refrigerators and air conditioners. In October 2016, the Montreal Protocol was amended, through the Kigali Amendment, to implement a global phasedown of HFCs in order to limit harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the fact that the U.S. leads the world in production of next generation HFC-alternative technologies, recent court decisions have stalled the phasedown of HFCs and created uncertainty for American manufacturers, including the HFC and HFC-alternative industry, which employs 593,000 workers in the U.S. and generates annual sales of $206 billion. The legislation gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to ensure a smooth transition away from HFCs, which provides certainty for manufacturers here at home, creates American jobs and protects our environment.
“Our bipartisan AIM Act continues support for American development and manufacturing of next-generation HFC-alternatives, while also protecting our environment and helping the U.S. meet its obligations under the amended Montreal Protocol – a true win-win,” said Senator Carper. “After more than a decade of work to support domestic manufacturing of HFC-alternative products, our efforts are clearly paying off with American companies leading the world in this growing industry. While we’ve been creating jobs right here at home, we’ve also been helping our country, and the world, phase down HFC products and limit their contribution to human-caused climate change. As other nations start making similar investments, now is not the time to pull on the reins and stymie the economic growth being created by American ingenuity. I am proud to work with Senator Kennedy and my other bipartisan colleagues to continue to build on our successes and work across the aisle to provide a cleaner planet for the generations to come.”
“On the surface, this bill seems more complicated than high school chemistry, but really it’s pretty simple. It’s about jobs. And it’s about protecting the investment by Louisiana companies in new technologies and protecting Louisiana jobs,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This bill gives a $206 billion U.S. industry the clarity it needs to invest, transition and protect American jobs. It’s not often that Democrats, Republicans, industry and environmental groups come together to agree on anything, but we are all in agreement on this one.”
“American manufacturers are leading the way in using new technologies to develop environmentally-friendly substitutes for hydrofluorocarbons,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This legislation helps workers in Louisiana and creates jobs here at home.”
“HFCs are a serious threat to our environment that the world must come together to take on,” said Sen. Merkley. “With this bipartisan proposal, we can bring a commonsense approach to phasing out HFCs and boost our efforts to avoid climate chaos.”
“America’s manufacturing industry is an integral part of our economy and has long been a source of pride as well as quality, good-paying jobs,” said Senator Collins. “This legislation will accelerate the phasedown of harmful pollutants with next-generation, environmentally safe coolant alternatives while boosting job growth, increasing innovation, and attracting future investments.”
“The Louisiana Chemical Association commends Sen. Kennedy for his leadership and we look forward to working with him on this important legislation,” said Greg Bowser, President of the Louisiana Chemical Association. “Investments in manufacturing of the next-generation solutions have resulted in hundreds of long-term, sustainable jobs in Louisiana, as well as thousands of manufacturing jobs during the construction of these large-scale manufacturing plants. I encourage leadership to take action on the phasedown of HFCs by passing the AIM Act, and support continued innovation in this growth sector.”
“Because other nations are already forging ahead on the HFC phase-down, it is important for the United States to maintain its leadership in the development of climate-friendlier alternatives and for American industry to seize the global economic opportunity in the market for alternative chemicals and products. Your bill is a critical step in that direction,” said David Doniger, Senior Strategic Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
“We commend Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Carper for their leadership in introducing the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act,” said Rajeev Gautam, President and CEO, Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies. “Honeywell strongly supports HFC phasedown as an essential initiative for American competitiveness. Decisive action at the federal level is critical to supporting economic growth and job creation at home and the success of exporting U.S. innovation abroad.”
“Mexichem Fluor, Inc. supports the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM), which provides for EPA to adopt a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) phasedown in accordance with the schedule in the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer. This bill will help achieve the important and sustainable objectives of this international environmental agreement,” said Mexichem communications manager Adam Greenland.
“Chemours is pleased to see the introduction of this bill. America has led the global ozone protection effort since the Reagan Administration by advancing policies that are environmentally effective and economically sensible while launching an era of American technology leadership,” said said Paul Kirsch, President of Fluoroproducts for Chemours. “Not only would this legislation enable the EPA to establish an orderly phase-down and encourage innovation and the commercialization of replacements, but it would preserve American technology leadership, current investment and the jobs created by the transition.”
“We applaud the introduction of this bill and thank these Senators for their leadership,” said AHRI President & CEO Stephen Yurek. “Enhancing U.S. technological leadership and supporting U.S. industry and the jobs it creates and sustains are key components of our support for the Kigali Amendment, and this bill will create a certain pathway for implementation of Kigali if, as we hope, it is submitted to and ratified by the Senate.” he added.