When it comes to dictating what products we are allowed to buy, we would like to think our government would err on the side of safety instead of on the side of big political donors. That may not be the case.
In an op-ed piece in today’s Investor’s Business Daily, Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government, reveals that a division of the EPA while headed by Gina McCarthy, who is nominated by Obama to become head of the EPA, approved the use of a automobile refrigerant called HFO-1234yf. The refrigerant is touted as “ozone friendly” and its patent is held by Honeywell Corp. and DuPont.
Honeywell PAC is one of the top political donors in the country and its CEO David Cote has close ties to Obama. Honeywell PAC gave $5,000 to Harry Reid’s campaign in 2009 alone and nearly $10,000 in prior years. That PAC gave more than $20,000 to Harry’s Searchlight Leadership Fund. It also gave thousands to the Senate Majority Fund, while Reid was the majority leader.
“This new chemical helps fight climate change and ozone depletion,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation in a statement in 2011 on HFO-1234yf. “It is homegrown innovative solutions like this that save lives and strengthen our economy.”
But Wilson reports Daimler conducted crash tests in Germany and found the substance highly flammable. Not only that but it emits hydrogen fluoride — “a chemical far more deadly to humans than hydrogen cyanide, emitted in such amounts that it turned the windshield white as it began to eat into the glass.” The results were the same in 20 out of 20 tests.
Both Daimler and Volkswagen now refuse to use the refrigerant even though the European Union has mandated its use.
As far as strengthening our economy, Wilson says the chemical will be manufactured in China, while American workers who produce R-134a — the current industry standard refrigerant — may lose their jobs.
Wilson concludes with this indictment:
“Whether this is a case of crony capitalism or the ‘green agenda’ run amok remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: Gina McCarthy approved the promotion of a dangerous product that threatens American lives and jobs.
“That’s the real danger here — not global warming or a ‘killer coolant,’ but a rogue agency and the woman who would lead it, who are willing to sacrifice consumer safety on the altar of radical ideology.”
Now corrosive material is to be added to the dreamed for electric cars. And yet they rise in alarm because inert radioactive material is to be stored here on land that is still radioactive from long ago government testing that was considered absolutely necessary for national defense. Obviously, nuclear repository businesses have to ramp up their contributions to politicians. Also obvious is that China has found that contribution button to push in American politics.
The Daimler resistance could be a bit personal. Germany is the only country fighting this and (though I believe in coincidence) Germany is pushing CO2 refrigerant for commercial vehicles.
Whether or not this is actually better or not remains to be seen, R134 was supposed to be good for the Ozone (the hole remains no bigger no smaller). Now they claim R134a is a huge heat trapping upper atmosphere gas. How long before this new stuff is found to be causing damage and must be replaced? Well lets see, how long can Honeywell and Dupont hold onto exclusivity rights by patent? This time reverse compatibility seems to be less of an issue.
One thing to note about auto refrigerants. They are not flammable by themselves. Even Daimler stated “once mixed with compressor oil” There three things needed to ignite R-12, R134 or R1234yf. Compressor oil, a spray that aerosolizes the mixture and a heat source sufficient to ignite it. Most leaks are very small (those are the insidious ones causing “ozone depletion”) or massive and instantaneous (as in an accident or a hose that bursts. It happened to me a few years back. Big white cloud from under the hood and sudden warm air from the vents. Have a new hose made, replace all the o-rings, have it evacuated, hold vacuum, re charge it and all is good.)
I am not a professional in the AC field but I do know about the systems enough to service my own vehicles and have converted an old R-12 unit (of mine) to Freeze12 because no license is needed to use that refrigerant.
Here is a great timeline:
Looks like big business is once again a big winner of big government support.
Interesting approach here. The EPA, charged with ensuring that new products do not cause unreasonable pollution, swiftly and efficiently approves a new product for use in American automobiles. One would think that Thomas Mitchell would applaud. Instead, he condems the EPA for not going outside its legal jurisdiction and becoming a consumer safety regulator.
The jury is still out. The companies are all making opposing claims. As with Bisophenol, etc, a compound is innocent until proven guilty according to our laws. Those laws exist at the insistence of Conservatives. The EPA is following the law and is free to choose whatever it wants until someone proves the compound dangerous. That has not occurred so far.
Not true, Rincon. The only people making opposing claims are in Germany and they have a preference in using C02. Europe is pressuring the Germans to switch and they probably will do so soon. The rest of the words auto companies have signed on and are building vehicles with the new refrigerant.
The issue at hand is more one of just how Honeywell and Dupont got the their exclusive gas through the EPA so fast…as Tom makes clear with the money trail.
yeah. What an outrage that a federal regulator swiftly and efficiently approved use of an important new chemical that has already been tested and cleared by the EU and whose principal problem has nothing to do with the regulator’s legal jurisdiction.
Must obviously be that $5k contribution that Honeywell gave to Harry Reid in 2009.
Huh? “Those laws exist at the insistence of Conservatives.”
The first company to sign onto the new refrigerant was GM.
That says something about government bailouts.
Thanks Steve. I don’t like it one bit, but the law of the land says that companies can give as much as they want in campaign contributions and the politicians can accept them. All we have a right to do is complain about it. Unfortunately, both sides excuse the players on their team, thinking that the other side does it too.
It might be a lack of laws or funding that are at the insistence of Conservatives, Thomas. As I understand it, anyone can market a prostate health or weight loss formula with little or no regulation. Companies are allowed to put chemicals onto the market with little restriction so far as I can find. When they do put out a stinker, the EPA can challenge them, but according to this article http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/11/15/15greenwire-prenatal-exposures-prompt-epa-to-re-examine-ch-68772.html?pagewanted=all ,
“The researchers talked of chemicals that may be triggering the rise in obesity in the country; agents that promote cancer; and the need to quickly go through a list of about 200,000 chemicals in a European library of commercial compounds called REACH, to determine their toxicity.
“The agency is already struggling to assess the environmental health impact for a backlog of 478 chemicals…During the George W. Bush administration, the agency managed to go through two chemicals a year; the number has increased to nine under the Obama administration”.
Liberals are officious morons.
You’ve got me on the edge of my seat, Athos. Please, give us more of your wit and wisdom!