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May 24, 2005: DOJ And EPA Announce Settlement In Refrigerant Leak Case

May 24, 2005
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WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have announced a settlement with DuPont to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations of the repair, testing, recordkeeping, and reporting regulations for appliances that use ozone-depleting substances. The violations occurred at DuPont's titanium dioxide manufacturing facility located in New Johnsonville, Tenn.

In the complaint filed simultaneously with the consent decree, the United States alleges that DuPont violated the Clean Air Act after its industrial process refrigeration equipment (IPRs) and comfort cooling equipment leaked HCFC-22 refrigerant in excessive amounts, and DuPont failed to perform the required testing, reporting, recordkeeping, and repairs pursuant to enforcing recycling, emissions, and reduction requirements involving ozone protection. As a result, nearly 9,000 pounds of refrigerant leaked into the atmosphere.

The agreement filed in federal court in Nashville, Tenn., settles all federal claims set forth in the complaint. Under the proposed agreement, Delaware-based DuPont will perform injunctive relief valued at $1.1 million, pay $250,000 in civil penalties, and perform a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) valued at $1.2 million. In accordance with the injunctive relief and the SEP, DuPont will replace or retrofit each 1,700-ton chiller or IPR with equipment that uses only non-ozone depleting refrigerant.

"Today's settlement demonstrates this administration's commitment to reducing harmful pollutants that damage our air supply," stated Kelly A. Johnson, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department. "The residents in and around this area will benefit from these significant improvements."

"The environmental threat from ozone depleting substances is serious and this action demonstrates EPA's continued commitment to enforcing the Stratospheric Ozone Protection program," Jimmy Palmer, EPA Regional Administration in Atlanta, stated.

Publication date: 05/23/2005

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