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Worthington Industries Requests EPA Repeal Ban on Non-Refillable Cylinders

COLUMBUS, Ohio, November 10, 2021 -- Worthington Industries, Inc. [NYSE: WOR] today announced that it has filed a petition for partial administrative reconsideration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The petition asks the agency to rescind the ban on non-refillable cylinders which was included as part of its final rule to implement the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act. The AIM Act, signed into law in late 2020, was bipartisan legislation aimed solely at phasing down the production and consumption of specific hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). 

“Worthington supports the AIM Act and its mission to phase down HFCs, but banning non-refillable cylinders as part of the phase down is an unnecessary restriction that puts American jobs at risk, reduces U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and does virtually nothing to protect the environment,” said Worthington Industries President and CEO Andy Rose.  “We hope the EPA will accept our petition, rescind the ban and work with us to employ Worthington’s innovative solutions to address the agency’s concerns about smuggling and heel emissions.”  Rose continued, “Supporting the petition will help restore the important balance achieved in the AIM Act to address climate change and support American manufacturing.”

Worthington’s petition includes an updated, fully recyclable cylinder that remains lightweight, adds environmental safety technology to address venting issues and will deter smuggling of banned substances through reliance on domestic production capacity.  Worthington’s alternatives help keep American jobs in America, protects the environment, prioritizes HVAC workers and minimizes disruption and costs to the HVAC industry.  

On Oct. 5, 2021, EPA posted a final rule Phasedown of Hydrofluorocarbons: Establishing the Allowance Allocation and Trading Program Under the AIM Act that included a ban on non-refillable cylinders.  The final rule effectively prohibits the sale of this cylinder as of December 31, 2024 which is produced in Columbus, Ohio, and Paducah, Kentucky, by 500 hard-working, skilled American workers.

Worthington strongly opposes the ban on non-refillable cylinders.  The AIM Act provides no explicit legal authority to the EPA to implement the ban.  EPA did not address concerns submitted to the agency demonstrating the ban’s infeasibility and direct harm to HVAC technicians who often work in elevated, cramped spaces and because of the ban, will be forced to carry cylinders that are four times heavier, likely increasing injuries. 

EPA rationalized the cylinder ban in its rule based on (1) preventing HFC gas venting and leakage; and (2) the ease of identifying the cylinder to keep out illegal HFC imports.  These concerns are shared by Worthington Industries.  Short of an outright ban on the cylinder, however, Worthington has developed a much simpler solution to address these issues which is the basis for the petition. 

Worthington Industries is the last remaining domestic manufacturer of the non-refillable steel cylinders used throughout the United States by the HVAC industry to safely store and transport refrigerant gases.  These cylinders have been the target of significant market manipulation by foreign sources over the past four years.   The International Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce imposed sanctions on this behavior as recently as April 2021.     
About Worthington Industries
Worthington Industries (NYSE:WOR) is a leading industrial manufacturing company pursuing its vision to be the transformative partner to its customers, a positive force for its communities and earn exceptional returns for its shareholders. For over six decades, the Company has been delivering innovative solutions to customers spanning industries such as automotive, energy, retail and construction. Worthington is North America’s premier value-added steel processor and producer of laser welded solutions that provide lightweighting and safety critical components to the mobility market. Through on-board fueling systems and gas containment solutions, Worthington serves the growing global hydrogen ecosystem. The Company’s focus on innovation and manufacturing expertise extends to market-leading consumer products in tools, outdoor living and celebrations categories, sold under brand names, Coleman®, Bernzomatic®, Balloon Time®, Mag Torch®, Well-X-Trol®, General®, Garden-Weasel®, Pactool International® and Hawkeye™; as well as market leading building products, including water systems, heating & cooling solutions, architectural and acoustical grid ceilings and metal framing and accessories.
Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Worthington operates 53 facilities in 15 states and seven countries, sells into over 90 countries and employs approximately 8,000 people. Founded in 1955, the Company follows a people-first philosophy with earning money for its shareholders as its first corporate goal. Relentlessly finding new ways to drive progress and transform, Worthington is committed to providing better solutions for customers and bettering the communities where it operates by reducing waste, supporting community-based non-profits and developing the next generations of makers.
Safe Harbor Statement
Worthington Industries wishes to take advantage of the Safe Harbor provisions included in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “Act"). Statements by Worthington Industries which are not historical information constitute "forward looking statements" within the meaning of the Act. All forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ from those projected. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include risks, uncertainties and impacts described from time to time in Worthington Industries’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including those related to COVID-19 and the various actions taken in connection therewith, which could also heighten other risks.