The regulation, Prohibitions on Use of Certain Hydrofluorocarbons in Stationary Refrigeration, Stationary Air-conditioning, and Other End-Uses includes a variance program under Section 95378. Anyone subject to the regulation who meets the listed criteria may submit a request for a variance from the requirements of sections 95374 and 95375. A variance may be granted if the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Executive Officer determines that the applicant has proven the variance criteria are met.
There are two variance types that an applicant could apply for:
- “Impossibility” - The applicant exercised best efforts but still was unable to comply with the regulatory requirements for reasons beyond their control despite exercising foresight to prevent the non-compliance.
- “Force Majeure Event” - A sudden and unforeseeable event involving a clear danger, demanding action to prevent or mitigate the loss of, or damage to, life, health, property, or essential public services, arising from causes beyond the control of the applicant, which prevents compliance. This includes events where the government issues a declaration of emergency, which can include war, wildfires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and pandemics. This does not include negligent acts or the Applicant's financial inability to perform that is unrelated to an event as defined in this section.
Variance Process Overview
- An applicant must submit a full application including all of the information specified under Section 95378. An optional application template can be found here.
- Within 30 days of receipt of an application the Executive Officer will determine whether the application is complete and will notify the applicant of this determination.
- Within 30 calendar days after an application is deemed complete, the Executive Officer will publicly post notice of receipt of the application and the requested variance and will invite public comment for 30 calendar days from the date the notice is posted. Public notices can be found here.
- The Executive Officer will determine if the variance application is approved or denied within 60 calendar days after close of the public comment period.
- The Executive Officer will notify the applicant of the decision in writing, and if approved, will specify all terms and conditions of the variance in the form of an Executive Order.
- The variance will cease to be effective immediately if the applicant fails to comply with any term or condition of the Executive Order.
- An applicant may petition for review of the Executive Officer’s decision by requesting an administrative hearing.