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Court Vacates EPA's SNAP 21 Regulation
April 16, 2019

The United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has issued a decision vacating the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SNAP 21 Regulation in response to a lawsuit brought by Mexichem Fluor and Arkema. The SNAP 21 rule, which de-listed certain hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), was issued in 2016 and was similar to a previous rule, SNAP 20, issued in 2015. Mexichem Fluor and Arkema filed suit, challenging the legality of both rules. In 2017, a 3-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court, in a decision authored by now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, vacated the SNAP 20 rule, finding that the EPA lacked authority from Congress to regulate HFCs that were used as replacements for ozone depleting substances. The court had decided to consider each case separately, and the SNAP 21 case was held in abeyance until last week when the court determined that it was bound by its SNAP 20 decision because the facts and law of each case were identical.

The EPA will take action to issue a guidance document in response to the court’s decision clarifying how it will implement that decision, but it is expected to re-draft the SNAP 21 rule to address the Court’s ruling, just as it is in the process of re-drafting the SNAP 20 rule. That rule will address how the EPA will implement its authority pursuant to the court’s August 8, 2017, decision.

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