KANSAS CITY, Mo. - According to a federal complaint, more than a dozen 30-pound cylinders of R-22 sold at Sam's Club stores found their way into the hands of non-certified customers. As a result, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which owns Sam's Club, has agreed to pay a $400,000 penalty and stop selling the refrigerant, according to a consent decree filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo. The federal complaint dealt with 20 violations of the Clean Air Act, most involving the 30-pound cylinders, although at least one package of 12-ounce cans of R-12 was also cited, according to officials in the office of Todd Graves, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Sales apparently took place in Sam's Club stores in Missouri, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and West Virginia. As federal officials began gathering information on possible violations at so many locations, it was decided to consolidate prosecution through the Missouri Western District Office. In Missouri itself, violations were charged in stores in Independence, Springfield, and Joplin.

"These chemicals are regulated by the federal government because they contribute to ozone-depletion pollution," said Graves. "Retailers have an obligation to responsibly monitor the sale of these products."

Publication date: 03/08/2004