Science Defeats Sneak Attack

by Don Harkins

After being bushwhacked in AZ,FL last year, OZ Technology of Rathdrum is legislatively 3-0 this year in defense of the use of hydrocarbon refrigerants in cars. It seems that all it takes to convince legislators that hydrocarbons are safe to use in motor vehicles is for them to hear both sides of the story.

CARSON CITY, NEVADA--AB612, a bill nearly identical to the bill which made the sale and use of hydrocarbon refrigerants illegal in all applications in the state of Arizona last year, was not able to pass out of the Nevada Senate Natural Resources Committee.
Secretly introduced in the final days of the 1997 Nevada legislative session, the bill, which "Prohibits the sale of certain highly flammable refrigerants," was not expected to receive any opposition where it was to be heard by Nevada Assembly Committee on Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining. However, when the committee convened at 1:30 p.m. June 25, 1997, Alternative Refrigerant Association President Bob Schoser of Nevada Refrigerants, Inc. of Las Vegas, and representatives of OZ Technology (OZ), a hydrocarbon refrigerant manufacturer from Rathdrum, Idaho, were on hand to testify in opposition of AB612.
Schoser found out the Friday prior to the Wednesday committee hearing for AB612 that there was legislation pending to make "certain" flammable refrigerants illegal in Nevada.
"When I began to make inquiries into who drafted and sponsored the bill, I was told, ‘it is a secret,’" said Schoser.
Freshman Assemblyman Harry Mortensen told Schoser that the committee as a whole sponsored the bill. Mortensen later admitted that he sponsored the bill himself out of concern for public safety.
Had the bill passed, it would have been a misdemeanor for persons to sell or use refrigerants which have not been "...approved for the intended use by the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency;...."
Scientifically documented testimony regarding the viability of "certain" flammable hydrocarbon refrigerants and the environmental and physiological dangers associated with the production and use of the most common Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accepted CFC replacement refrigerant HFC-134a was presented to the committee by Schoser and OZ. The testimony given by Schoser and OZ derailed an attempt to pass AB612 through the legislature uncontested and forced the committee to hear additional testimony the following Monday.
Mortensen, who testified in favor of the bill, was genuinely surprised that Schoser and OZ came prepared to testify against the bill. Mortensen presented as evidence photographs of an automobile fire and its corresponding accident report which determined that the fire appeared to have been caused by faulty electrical wiring. There was no indication on the report that the fire was caused by refrigerants-- flammable or otherwise.
Mortensen continued his testimony in favor of passage of the bill by using a TV news videotape supplied to him by the Mobile Air Conditioning Society. The videotape depicted a scientifically invalid automobile explosion which was allegedly caused by the ignition of a full A/C system charge of HC-12a® released into the passenger compartment of the vehicle.
OZ Technology spokesperson said, "We have safety and risk assessment data on file from independent laboratories and scientists from all over the world which addresses the flammability and safety of hydrocarbon refrigerants in a variety of applications, including motor vehicle applications. All of the reports come to the same conclusions: That when used properly, hydrocarbon refrigerants are safe."
The OZ spokesperson also stated in response to the TV news videotape that, "We have seen several of these unscientific experiments designed to inflame the TV- viewing public. The scientific method demands that notes be taken and results published and made available to the scientific community for peer review. The ‘news at 11’ type experiments are not documented, are not published and are not made available to the scientific community for peer review."
Sensing that the bill’s passage into law was being threatened by the opposing viewpoint backed by well-documented science, Mortensen, who himself is a nuclear physicist, apparently contacted EPA Refrigerants Analyst Jeffrey Levy and EPA Region 9 official Jeffrey Kimes to give testimony at the Monday committee meeting. Though the Nevada Assembly passed AB612 out of committee and voted 26-16 in favor of the bill, the end-of-session attempt to criminalize the use of "certain" flammable refrigerants ultimately failed as the bill was not heard by the Senate Natural Resources Committee prior to the end of the 1997 legislative session. Similar one-sided parliamentary procedures employed in Arizona and Florida last year resulted in the ban of flammable refrigerants in all applications in those states. This year, with both sides of the flammable refrigerants issue being presented before the Nevada, Arkansas and Idaho state legislatures, bills proposing the criminalization of the use of flammable refrigerants have failed.
There is a story here so big that it would make the most trusting person think that there was something fishy going on. What if the CFC/ozone hole issue was a hoax and the CFC ban is a conspiratorial ruse to unnecessarily extort over $40 billion from the American public over the next couple of years? What if the whole CFC ban was because DuPont was about to lose its patent rights to Freon and wanted to retool and redesign and retrofit the entire refrigeration industry to accommodate its new refrigerant HFC-134a?
Contact OZ Technology at (208)687-7000. If you want to know why it costs so much to recharge your A/C with the carcinogenic, wetland-damaging greenhouse gas HFC-134a, which has the blessing of the EPA--and doesn't even work very well, call and get the facts.