Environmentalists Sue EPA Over Rollback of Obama HFC Rule

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(Bloomberg Law) -- Environmentalists are suing the EPA over the rollback of a regulation aimed at reducing emissions of powerful greenhouse gases.

The Natural Resources Defense Council filed suit Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The group is challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to scrap an Obama-era requirement for refrigerant users to detect and repair leaks of hydrofluorocarbons.

“We’re going to court to restore these commonsense HFC protections,” David Doniger, senior strategic director of NRDC’s Climate & Clean Energy Program, said in a statement. “EPA should be looking for every opportunity to ease the growing climate crisis—not add fuel to the fire.”

HFCs are potent greenhouse gases commonly used in air conditioning, refrigeration, and other products. The EPA said its decision to loosen the requirements would save companies $39 million a year.

NRDC says the case is its 112th targeting the Trump administration’s environmental and safety deregulatory moves.

The lawsuit comes a month after the D.C. Circuit restored part of a separate Obama-era HFC rule after determining the Trump administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act in eliminating it.

Response: The EPA said it doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Attorneys: NRDC represents itself; the Justice Department represents the EPA.

The case is Nat. Res. Def. Council v. Wheeler, D.C. Cir., No. 20-1150, 5/11/20.

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