Refrigeration Company Self-Discloses Ozone Violations, Gets Reduced Fine
EPA has reached an $18,899 settlement with Tyler Refrigeration, a manufacturer of commercial refrigeration systems for the retail foods industry, for importing banned refrigerants from Mexico in violation of the Clean Air Act. The manufacturer imported 12,599 kg of HCFC 22 and HCFC 124, both Class II ozone-depleting substances, from sources outside the United States in violation of the stratospheric ozone protection regulations, the agency said.
Under EPA's audit policy promoting self-disclosure, the agency may reduce certain penalties for violations that are voluntarily discovered, promptly disclosed, and quickly corrected, which is what happened in this case. Because Tyler self-disclosed to EPA the improper importations and met additional criteria, the agency applied the policy and reduced the proposed penalty from $98,199 to $18,889.
"The EPA limits the importation of ozone-depleting chemicals into the United States to protect the ozone layer from further damage," said Deborah Jordan, Director of the Air Division in the EPA's Pacific Southwest Regional Office. "We thank Tyler Refrigeration for coming forward and voluntarily disclosing its unauthorized importation of harmful refrigerants."
EPA's stratospheric ozone protection program aims to prevent depletion of the ozone layer through the production phase-out and use restriction of Class II refrigerants. Among other restrictions, the program regulates the importation of Class II ozone-depleting substances such as HCFC 22 and HCFC 124.
High in the atmosphere, the stratospheric ozone layer is the earth's protective shield against excessive ultraviolet radiation. Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation has been held responsible for increased risk of skin cancer and cataracts, depressed immune systems, decreased crop output, and the destruction of plankton, a critical link in the oceanic food chain. For more information on EPA's stratospheric ozone protection program, visit www.epa.gov/ozone/strathome.html.