On Friday, July 3rd, the American EPA published its final rule regarding Greenhouse Gases, titled “Extension of Stratospheric Ozone: Change of Listing Status for Certain Substitutes under the Significant New Alternatives Policy Program.”
Included in this regulation is the extension of the ban on HFC-134a, a blowing agent utilized in the application of marine flotation foam, from 2017 to 2020. The extension of this ban is good news for the marine manufacturing industry,
as HFC-134a is used by many boat builders, and is an essential tool in their production efforts.
The proposed rule from August 2014 would have banned all use of HFC-134a in marine manufacturing by 2017. With no other alternative readily
available, this would have been a crippling blow to many manufacturers throughout the industry. To combat this misguided proposal, NMMA organized interested parties such as the U.S. Coast Guard, boat builders, and HFC-134a foam suppliers
through Boating United, successfully convincing the EPA to extend the ban until 2020, giving more time for an alternative, Coast Guard approved substance to be made available to boat builders.
The boating industry consists primarily of
small businesses, who have limited financial resources, market influence, and access to the supply chain. A complete ban of HFC-134a in maritime production would have proven problematic for many of these businesses, and the industry as a
whole. The extension of the ban until 2020 gives the industry more time to phase in a viable alternative and keep these businesses operating smoothly.