WGVA 106.3FM 1240AMMix 98.5101.7 The WallWFLR Finger Lakes Country Classic Hits 99.3The Lake 100.1/104.5 WAUB 96.3FM 1590AM

State Senator and Local Grocers Unite Against New Refrigerant Standards


Owners of area grocery stores, including those in Ontario and Wayne counties, joined State Senator Pam Helming on Tuesday in calling on the state to pause its January 1st start date for new HFC refrigerant standards.

Senator Helming was joined at the Honeoye Falls Marketplace on Tuesday by the owners of Joey’s Northside Grocery, Newark; Caledonia Marketplace; Bliss Shurfine Food Mart, Manchester; West’s Shurfine Food Markets, Honeoye and Livonia; Busters Market, Scottsville; Van Ernst Refrigeration, East Rochester; and Mendon Town Supervisor John Moffitt and Honeoye Falls Mayor Richard Milne.

The DEC is reviewing proposed amendments to its HFC phasedown regulations that include prohibiting new products and equipment containing HFCs beginning January 1st, as well as the sale of certain refrigerants. HFCs are commonly used in refrigeration and HVAC equipment. The regulations are being considered to meet the requirements of the state’s sweeping Climate Act adopted in 2019.

According to Helming and the business owners, the concern is these regulations, as currently written, would have devastating impacts on the retail food industry, including independent grocers and convenience stores, many of which are located in food deserts, up to the largest supermarkets doing business in New York State.  The cost of retrofitting stores to meet these new standards is in the millions of dollars. There are also supply chain challenges that currently limit the availability of alternative refrigerants and equipment to meet the proposed standards, and beyond that, the availability of trained contractors and technicians. Businesses are asking the DEC to align its rules with federal standards.

Senator Helming said, “While we take steps to protect the environment, we also need to protect our small businesses, local jobs, and access to food in our communities. The grocers and convenience store operators I’ve spoken with are reasonable – no one is asking for this regulation to be stopped. They are simply asking for it to be consistent with the federal government standards and implemented under a more realistic timeframe. We should be helping businesses grow, not threatening their viability or the livelihoods of the people they employ and the people and communities they serve.”

“The NYS DEC’s proposals regarding the nearly immediate outlaw of commonly used refrigerants in commercial and supermarket settings will lead to the proliferation of food deserts in urban and rural areas, reduce consumer choices, and ignite substantial food inflation throughout NYS,” said Deric M. West, owner of Honeoye Falls Marketplace & Mendon Meadows Marketplace, which employs over 130 people. “The State DEC must align its future regulations concerning the use of refrigerants with recent pragmatic standards adopted by the State of California, the U.S. Federal Government, and the international Montreal Protocol. These entities have developed specific protocols for hydrofluorocarbon phasedowns that are based on a collaboration of the broad set of stakeholders that will be impacted by these regulations. We are asking the NYS DEC to work with the supermarket industry to bring about comprehensive reform that will lead to an improved quality of life for all New Yorkers while securing and preserving environmental protections for future generations.”

Have all the Finger Lakes news from Finger Lakes News Radio delivered to your email every morning for FREE!  Sign up by clicking here.

Get the top stories on your radio 24/7 on Finger Lakes News Radio 96.3 and 1590, WAUB and 106.3 and 1240, WGVA, and on Finger Lakes Country, 96.1/96.9/101.9/1570 WFLR.