40 Western New York Business Leaders and Elected Officials Hold Major News Conference to address proposed NYSDEC Regulation 6 NYCRR Part 494 and the Devastating Effects it will have on businesses and consumers throughout New York State

Mar 20, 2024 | Articles |

by Joseph R. Ciffa, President, JRC Promotions

Buffalo, NY – March 12, 2024-  In December 2023, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) introduced proposed revisions to its Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) phasedown regulation as part of the implementation of the Climate Leadership Community Protection Act (CLCPA).

Retailers, suppliers, manufacturers, and ultimately the consumers will see an unprecedented increase in costs driven by requirements from New York State that are not aligned with Federal and/or International standards that create confusion and isolation between New York State and other jurisdictions.

The proposed regulation does not take into consideration the cost to businesses, downstream impacts to workers and consumers, and the long-term negative impacts on energy usage that would come with the proposed changes.

To formally address this situation, nearly 40 local business leaders and Elected Officials held a major news conference on Friday, March 15 at 10:00AM at Chef’s Restaurant, 291 Seneca Street in Buffalo.

If put into effect as written, the proposed regulation would result in:

  • Significant difficulties in servicing existing residential and light commercial HVAC units, increasing costs to consumers and forcing them to buy multiple new products in the next 4-5 years to comply.
  • Increased costs to more than 25,000 food retail businesses in that state that will need to completely change their refrigeration and HVAC systems, no matter how new their current equipment is. For larger supermarkets, it will necessitate retrofits for each refrigeration rack, and rip-out would require considerable investment – an estimated $1 million per rack – and result in significant downtime and store closures across the State.
  • Challenges for residential and commercial properties looking to insulate building space, which would lead to air leakage, lower energy efficiency and increased energy costs.
  • Elimination of the spray foam industry in New York State (approximately $200 million industry). This could lead to an estimated 2,000 jobs being lost across the state.

This proposed regulation will place a significant burden on many industries across New York State, including small businesses. In a time when inflation has already wreaked havoc on our economy, the challenge of this burdensome regulation will be, in some cases, insurmountable. Consumers, workers, and businesses alike will be negatively impacted:

  • The cost of new equipment, increased energy costs to operate that new equipment, and administration costs incurred to comply with the new regulation will force businesses to raise their prices – directly impacting consumers.
  • A significant number of small to medium-sized businesses won’t be able to afford to comply with the proposed regulation, forcing them to close, thereby reducing competition, while also creating job loss.
  • It will cause increased strain to an already strained electricity grid, as the new equipment’s energy demands are significantly higher than existing systems.
  • Possibly increased occurrence of food deserts across the state

The proposed regulation does not work for consumers, workers, and businesses in New York State. We are not asking the State to abandon climate concerns, or its desire to move towards more sustainable, better solutions. We are asking that the State revise its HFC phasedown regulation so that it aligns with Federal standards and allows businesses to choose the right refrigeration technology for their needs, while also ensuring the State fulfills its obligations under CLCPA.

Ken-Ton Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Cathy Piciulo’s remarks at the News Conference held on March 15, 2024:

“As a representative of the Chamber of Commerce, I’m deeply concerned about the proposed revisions to the HFC phasedown regulation by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. While I appreciate the goal of environmental sustainability, these changes could spell disaster for businesses, workers, and consumers across our state.

If these revisions go through as written, we’re looking at a major hike in costs for everyone involved. It is important to make your voice heard as the folks who want this are the only ones on the playing field right now. The state is inviting public comment and now is the time to write the letters and emails.

From retailers and suppliers to manufacturers and, ultimately, consumers, we’re all going to feel the pinch. And to make matters worse, these requirements don’t line up with the Federal guidelines, creating even more confusion and challenges for businesses trying to stay afloat.

These regulations will only make the economic challenges we’re already facing even worse. Small and medium-sized businesses, already struggling with inflation, will be hit the hardest, potentially leading to closures and job losses. And consumers will end up footing the bill with higher prices, while our electricity grid faces even more strain.

We’re not saying climate concerns aren’t important. But we need to find a better way forward. I’m urging the state to rethink its approach, align with Federal standards, and give businesses the flexibility to choose how they go green. Let’s work together to find solutions that protect our environment while keeping our economy strong and our citizens employed.”

The following regulatory proposals are available for public comment. Comments may be sent by mail to NYSDEC Office of Climate Change, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-1030 or emailed to climate.regs@dec.ny.gov(link sends email) (mailto:climate.regs@dec.ny.gov). Include the Part number (such as “Comments on Part 490”) in the subject line of the email.

Please visit the NYSDEC public calendar (https://dec.ny.gov/get-involved/events) for information o n public comment hearings, including hearing log-in information and links.

Business leaders, owners and elected officials from the following companies and organizations at news conference on March 15, 2024:

NYS Senator Pat Gallivan, NYS Assemblyman Pat Burke, West Seneca Town Supervisor,  Ken-Ton Chamber of Commerce, Meier Supply Co., Honeywell, Mesmer Refrigeration, Climate Pros, Crosby’s Stores, Reid Petroleum, F. Wardinski & Sons., Dash’s Market, The Market in the Square, Giant Food Mart, Tops Markets, Sahlen Packing Co., Chef’s Restaurant, Ilio DiPaolo’s Restaurant, MJ Mechanical, E. Gartland & Associates, Eagle Bay Refrigeration, Try-It Distributing, Honeoye Falls and Menden Marketplace, TDH Refrigeration, Federal Meats, Van Ernst Refrigeration, Refrigeration Sales & Service, Marco’s Italian Restaurant, Osteria 166, James Desiderio, Inc, Reids Food Barn, IRR Supply