EIA flags rogue emissions at fluorochemical plants

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has released a report presenting evidence of high-GWP and ozone-depleting gases being emitted from two major fluorochemical facilities in the US.

For the report, EIA investigators used an infrared detection device at the fencelines of two production facilities operated by Honeywell and Chemours in Baton Rouge, LA and Corpus Christi, TX, respectively. This revealed the emissions of various hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs).

“Our evidence is damning: fluorochemical production continues to spew significant avoidable emissions, often undisclosed, despite control measures,” says EIA US Climate Campaign Director Avipsa Mahapatra.

“This industry, culpable for creating a hole in our ozone layer, continues to profit at a massive cost to our climate. It behooves companies to step up, contain their chemicals leaking into our atmosphere or step out of this industry.

“We have only scratched the surface of a colossal global problem of unaccounted emissions, equivalent to annual emissions of 200 coal plants, that has vexed the scientific community and the Montreal Protocol, now striving to improve global attribution of these gases.”

Although manufacturers report emissions to the EPA as part of a mandatory process, the EIA identified several gases, including HFCs and CFCs, that have not been previously declared. According to the EIA, the fact that the gases were detectable at parts per million levels a significant distance from their source indicates that the actual volumes are likely to be substantial. Analysis of reported emissions also showed rising levels of CFC emissions from the facilities in recent years.

“It is imperative that the United States and global community take action to avoid industrial emissions from fluorochemical production,” says EIA US Senior Manager Christina Starr.

“We must enhance monitoring and reporting and expand Montreal Protocol and domestic control measures to address production emissions. Otherwise this chemical nightmare threatens the success of the treaty and our climate goals.”

The report, F-Gases at the Fenceline, is available at the EIA website.

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