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Safeway Settles With EPA on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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Safeway, the nation’s second-largest grocery store chain, has reached an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency over the reduction of ozone-depleting emissions from its refrigeration equipment.

The settlement calls for the Safeway to pay a $600,000 civil fine and to implement a plan to reduce the emissions at its 659 stores nationwide.

The plan, which is designed to reduce leaks of the hydro-fluorocarbon HCFC-22, is expected to cost approximately $4.1 million, the EPA and Department of Justice said in a statement issued today.

The settlement, described by the EPA as a “first of its kind,” involves the largest number of facilities of any case the EPA has processed under the Clean Air Act’s regulations governing refrigeration equipment.

The settlement resolves allegations that Safeway violated the Act by failing to promptly repair leads of HCFC-22, a greenhouse gas used as a coolant, and failed to keep adequate records of the servicing of its refrigeration equipment.

“Safeway’s new corporate commitment to reduce air pollution and help protect the ozone layer is vital and significant,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Fixing leaks, improving compliance and reducing emissions will make a real difference in protecting us from the dangers of ozone depletion, while reducing the impact on climate change.”

The EPA said HCFC-22 is up to 1,800 times more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of global warming emissions. The measures that Safeway has committed to are expected to prevent over 100,000 pounds of future releases of ozone-depleting refrigerants that destroy the ozone layer, the agency said.


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