FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2000
TDD (202) 514-1888
U.S. REACHES ENVIRONMENTAL ACCORD WITH COMMERCIAL BAKERY
Firm Will Pay $3.5 Million Fine for Emissions That Deplete Ozone Layer
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States has reached an agreement with Meyer's Bakery to settle claims that it illegally released ozone-depleting gasses from its factories in five states, the Justice Department and the EPA announced today.
The settlement, filed today in federal court in Fort Smith, Ark., calls for Meyer's to pay a $3.5 million penalty related to emissions of chlorofluorocarbons [CFCs] and hydrochlorofluorocarbons [HCFCs] at facilities in Hope, Ark.; Arizona City, Ariz.; Orlando, Fla.; Wichita, Kan.; and Cleburne, Texas.
"This penalty marks the largest civil fine to date under the federal program to control emissions that destroy the Earth's ozone layer," said Lois Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment at the Justice Department.
Little Rock-based Meyer's is a large commercial bakery that produces baked goods for distribution throughout the United States and Canada. As part of its production process, Meyer's used CFCs and HCFCs as refrigerant in industrial mixers and chillers.
An EPA investigation revealed that Meyer's consistently added refrigerant to its leaking mixers and chillers without locating or repairing leaks. The Justice Department alleged that from 1995 to 1998, Meyer's allowed thousands of pounds of ozone-depleting substances to leak from appliances. Clean Air Act regulations require companies to regularly check their equipment for leaks and repair them, but Meyer's own service logs revealed that the company failed to do so.
CFCs and HCFCs destroy stratospheric ozone, which is the Earth's protection against ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet radiation can cause skin cancer and cataracts, depress the immune system, decrease crop output, and destroy plankton in the oceans where the food chain begins.
More information on refrigerants and ozone depletion is available on EPA's website at http://www.epa.gov/ebtpages/airairporefrigerants.html and http://www.epa.gov/ebtpages/airatmospozonedepletion.html.