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CFC PHASEOUT LACKS JUSTIFICATION

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I am writing this in response to the questions about my bill dealing with the ozone. I feel that people deserve to know why I, Sen. Eldon Money, have sponsored this bill.

The phaseout of CFCs appears both scientifically unjustified and unnecessarily costly. A short-term cost of $2 trillion due to impending bans and related compounds has been cited. Some $135 billion of CFC-using equipment will have to be replaced. In a typical 40,000-square-foot store, the cost of replacing existing gas with "environmentally friendly" gas is $20,000. According to columnist Alston Chase, a CFC ban could "require scrapping 610 million refrigerators and freezers, 120 million cold storage lockers, 100 million refrigerator trucks and train cars, and 150 million car air conditioners" before their time, due to the incompatibility of substitutes with existing air-conditioning systems. The estimated overall cost of banning CFCs for refrigeration has been pegged at $800 per person.Some may say that this cost is minimal compared with destroying the ozone as an alternative. However, the scientific basis for banning CFCs in the first place is flimsy indeed. In 1987, the United States signed the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer, which called for the freezing of production and consumption of CFCs at 1986 levels, then halving those levels by the end of the century (later changed to a complete ban at the end of 1995). Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Environment Richard Benedick, who was the chief negotiator for the United States in shaping the Montreal Protocol, said there is no scientific basis for the document.

It is one thing to say that chlorine has something to do with ozone depletions, but quite another to conclude that man's production of CFCs is the culprit. There are many other entirely natural and far more plentiful sources of atmospheric chlorine. Dr. Ray notes, for instance, that chloride "is one of nature's most abundant ions. Sea water provides the atmosphere with 600 million tons of chloride per year. Volcanic eruptions emit millions of tons of chloride. And at least another million tons of chloride are produced naturally every year." To place this into perspective, she notes, "World production of CFCs at its peak reached 1.1 million tons per year. At this rate, there would be roughly 750,000 tons of chloride available from CFCs annually." Yet the volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1813 "ejected 211 million tons of chloride."

Again I state that the phaseout of CFCs appears both scientifically unjustified and unnecessarily costly. Unfortunately, the Montreal Protocol, which bans CFCs over a period of time, contains no provision to slow phaseouts if new scientific information warrants.

Senator Eldon A. Money