Climate challengesDHS, EPA to Enforce Phasedown of Climate-Damaging HFCs

Published 23 September 2021

DHS and the EPA will collaborate on guarding against the illegal importation of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).  HFCs are potent greenhouse gases with global warming potential that can be thousands of times greater than carbon dioxide.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new interagency task force which will guard against the illegal importation of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).  HFCs are potent greenhouse gases with global warming potential that can be thousands of times greater than carbon dioxide.  DHS says that a global phasedown of HFCs could meaningfully prevent the development of adverse global warming effects over the next century.  

“Using an all-hands-on-deck approach, we must urgently address the climate crisis that is threatening both our national and economic security, and our way of life,” said Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.  “We look forward to working with the EPA and our other government partners to ensure that importers do not undermine our emissions-reduction targets or put businesses who are complying with the rules at a competitive disadvantage.”  

“President Biden has made it clear, it’s going to take a whole-of-government approach to tackle the climate crisis and curb global warming,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan.  “That’s why this partnership with DHS is so important as we work to cut these climate super pollutants, protect our environment, foster American innovation and boost our economy.”

The American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM Act), enacted in 2020, directs the EPA to address the adverse environmental effects of HFCs by, among other things, phasing down HFC production, consumption, and importation. Earlier today (Thursday, 23 September), the EPA issued its first regulations to implement the AIM Act’s phasedown.  DHS, through U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, will work with the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation and Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance to stop illegal HFC imports into the United States, including by preventing the exploitation of U.S. customs laws.   

DHS notes that the launch of this joint initiative to enforce the phasedown of HFCs builds on DHS and the EPA’s long-standing collaboration on preventing illegal imports that threaten the environment, including imports of ozone-depleting substances and vehicles that fail to comply with Clean Air Act standards.