EES | Cases by Practice Area
U.S v. Safeway Inc. (N.D. Cal.)
Title VI (Stratospheric Ozone Protection) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and its implementing regulations are designed to protect the ozone layer and to provide for a smooth transition away from ozone-depleting substances. In a settlement reached with the United States in September 2013, Safeway, the nation’s second largest grocery store chain, agreed to pay a $600,000 civil penalty and to implement a corpo¬rate-wide plan to significantly reduce its emissions of ozone-depleting substances from refrigeration equipment at over 650 of its stores nationwide, at an estimated cost of $4.1 million. The settlement resolves allegations that Safeway violated the CAA by failing to promptly repair leaks of HCFC-22, a hydrochlorofluorocarbon that is a greenhouse gas and ozone-de¬pleting substance used as a coolant in refrigerators, and failed to keep adequate records of the servicing of its refrigeration equipment. The measures that Safeway has committed to take in this settlement are expected to prevent over 100,000 pounds of future releases of ozone-de-pleting refrigerants that destroy the ozone layer. Additionally, HCFC-22 has a global warming potential that is 1,800 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Fixing these leaks, improving compliance, and reducing HCFC-22 emissions will protect all Americans from the dangers of ozone depletion and reduce climate change. This first-of-its-kind settlement should also serve as a model for comprehensive solutions across a company.