WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, and John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, a bill that would authorize a 15-year phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs - potent greenhouse gases that are used primarily as coolants in refrigerators and air conditioning systems. The legislation will give companies in Delaware, Louisiana and across the country certainty to make the investments necessary to lead the world in the production of next-generation coolants.
This bipartisan legislation was crafted with input from the manufacturing industry and environmental groups to give businesses a clear timeline for transitioning to new innovations in refrigerants. The ultimate goal is to ensure a smooth phasedown that doesn’t disrupt jobs and leave the U.S. behind in an emerging global market. The global market is moving away from the use of HFC refrigerants, given that the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol requires their phaseout.
The legislation gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to regulate a transition to newer, better refrigerants. U.S. industries that directly use or produce fluorocarbons employ more than 593,000 Americans. This bill is expected to create an additional 150,000 direct and indirect U.S. jobs as well as generate $38.8 billion in economic benefits annually by 2027.
“I am happy to join Senator Kennedy and my other colleagues in introducing the AIM Act, which would bolster domestic manufacturing, create good paying American jobs and address climate change at the same time,” said Senator Carper. “American companies have already invested billions of dollars to produce and sell the next-generation technologies to replace HFCs. The AIM Act builds upon these investments, allowing U.S. companies to further expand manufacturing at home and remain competitive in a growing global market. The economic benefits of this bill are far reaching. The AIM Act is expected to result in 150,000 good paying American jobs and close to $39 billion in annual economic benefits. At the same time, joining the rest of the global community in reducing HFCs could help avoid up to a half degree Celsius in global warming by the end of the century. It is clear, the AIM Act is a huge win-win for our economy and the planet.”
“This bill lays the groundwork for a smooth transition to new technologies. Industry needs a sensible phasedown in order to protect jobs in Louisiana and across the U.S.,” said Senator Kennedy. “The world is moving away from hydrofluorocarbons, and the U.S. is in danger of getting stuck at the starting gate. We want these new refrigerants to be produced in the U.S., not in China. We want to export these new refrigerants, not import them. That won’t happen unless we give companies in Louisiana and across the U.S. much-needed certainty to create thousands of new jobs.”
The AIM Act will:
- Gradually phase down the production and consumption of HFCs through an allowance allocation and trading program.
- Authorize the EPA to establish standards for the management of HFCs used as refrigerants and for the recovery of used HFCs.
- Authorize the EPA to facilitate transitions to next-generation technologies by establishing sector-based use restrictions.
View the full text of the AIM Act HERE.
Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) joined Senators Kennedy and Carper as original cosponsors.
The legislation also has widespread support from industry and the environmental communities:
“The American Innovation and Manufacturing Act shows that industry, environmentalists and lawmakers can work together to phase down harmful HFCs and help the United States maintain its leadership in replacing them with climate-friendlier alternatives,” said David Doniger, Senior Strategic Director, Natural Resources Defense Council.
“The Ceres BICEP Network is glad to see Sens. Kennedy and Carper introduce this important piece of legislation. Phasing down HFCs is a critical step that will bolster American manufacturing and job creation. Companies are looking to reduce their own emissions and are calling on Congress to put forth bipartisan solutions that will drive innovation to help them meet their goals, such as the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2019,” said Anne Kelly, vice president of government relations at Ceres.
“We appreciate the leadership of Sens. Kennedy and Carper in introducing this legislation and helping create greater predictability as manufacturers prepare for the transition to more environmentally friendly refrigerants,” said Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute President & CEO Stephen Yurek. “It is our hope that the Senate will move expeditiously on this bill and that the House will shortly follow suit so that this transition can begin in earnest.”