U.S. Supreme Court Delivers Win to Marine Manufacturers on HFCs

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a lower-court’s decision that struck down a mandatory phaseout of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – including HFC 143a, which is commonly used by marine manufacturers. NMMA and their members worked to oppose and overturn the HFC rule and applauded the Court for deciding against rehearing the case.

The phasing out of HFCs was enacted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2015 as part of the Obama administration's regulatory agenda. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled last year that EPA overstepped its authority under the Clean Air Act's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program. The Supreme Court’s decision effectively affirms the District Court’s ruling that SNAP cannot regulate HFCs because the program was designed to address ozone-depleting substances, which HFCs are not.

HFC 134a is used to manufacture marine products like floatation foam and critical structural elements. Following EPA’s 2015 rule, the industry struggled to find a suitable alternative – the Supreme Court’s decision alleviates this problem and ensures manufacturers will have access to HFC 134a moving forward.

NMMA will continue to monitor this development as EPA and state-level agencies determine how to proceed. For more information, please contact NMMA’s Senior Vice President of Environmental Health and Safety, John McKnight at jmcknight@nmma.org.