Attention, PHCC Members: Last week, there were several important policy advancements in Washington, D.C., that may not have been widely publicized in the media but are nonetheless beneficial to the p-h-c industry.
Ratification of the Kigali Amendment: On Wednesday, Sept. 21 the United States Senate ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. The original protocol is an agreement among world governments to phase out the use of ozone-depleting substances which were used in common refrigerants at the time of its ratification.
Since the Montreal Protocol was first ratified, refrigerants containing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) became more prominent in the market. However, the global warming potential (GWP) of HFCs has been considered to be too high. The Kigali Amendment pledges countries to move to other lower GWP refrigerants and phase down reliance on HFCs. The United States became the 138th country to ratify Kigali with the Senate’s bipartisan 69-27 vote last week.
With the U.S. ratification of Kigali, there will be no trade barriers for U.S.-manufactured refrigerants to the international market. It secures the United States as a premier developer and exporter of the latest refrigerant technologies, streamlines the transition to the next generation of refrigerants, potentially creates up to 33,000 new jobs across the economy and a $12.5 billion increase in economic input by 2027 (half of those jobs are expected to be in the HVACR market). Ratification of Kigali is a win for American manufacturing and jobs, and a win for PHCC contractors.
Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP) Rule is officially rescinded: On Sept. 23, the Department of Labor officially rescinded the IRAP rule, a rulemaking which PHCC opposed. The IRAP apprenticeship model would have allowed any industry to set up an apprenticeship program in its field with little oversight, establishing “certifications” for specific skillsets in a given trade as opposed to the holistic and time-proven approach of registered apprenticeship.
Had it not been for PHCC’s vigorous opposition and advocacy, continuation of the IRAP rule would have meant the fragmentation of apprenticeship programs into certification programs that would deprive workers of the complete skillset needed to succeed in a particular trade. The original IRAP rule provided an exemption for the building trades because the Department of Labor at the time believed registered apprenticeship worked best for construction, though the door was always left open for IRAPs to eventually bleed into the building trades. The rescission of the IRAP rule represents another win for PHCC and for registered apprenticeship.