Extension to phase out HCFCs preserved

CHICAGO – The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has successfully helped the recreational marine industry preserve its one-year extension to phase out the use of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) in flotation foam, it reported in a statement today.

The extension gives boatbuilders until September 2009 to discontinue use of the ozone depleting substance (ODS), allowing sufficient time for marine manufacturers and the supply houses that furnish flotation foam systems to become compliant with the latest Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruling, NMMA stated.

Under the Montreal Protocol, the U.S. and other developed nations are obligated to achieve an overall percentage of progress towards the total phase-out of HCFCs by certain dates. In the early 1990s, the recreational marine industry secured an extension to complete the phase out of HCFCs used as a propellant in the application of flotation foam. However, in May of 2006, EPA published a notice in the Federal Register stating it planned to accelerate the process and push the deadline up to January 1, 2008, according to NMMA.

The possibility of this acceleration presented both a financial and logistical hardship for many boatbuilders, with the end result forcing those who couldn’t meet the new deadline to either close their doors or break the law, the association said.

“NMMA supports the EPA objective that ozone depleting substances such as HFCFs should be phased out, and acknowledges alternatives exist,” said John McKnight, NMMA director of Environmental & Safety Compliance. “But without sufficient time to implement these alternatives, such as that established by the original timeline, the average boatbuilder would be unable to take the necessary measures to become compliant with the ruling.”

For more information about EPA’s HCFC ruling, visit http://epa.gov/ozone/snap/regulations.html#rule16, or contact John McKnight at (202) 737-9757; jmcknight@nmma.org.

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