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2002-2004 Enforcement Actions under Title VI of the Clean Air Act

Past Enforcement Cases

1995-1998 | 1999-2001 | 2002-2004 | 2005-2007 | Present |

August 25, 2004: EPA Reaches Agreement with Abbott Labs on HCFC Leak Repair Violations (PDF, 56K, about PDF)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has reached an agreement with Abbott Laboratories to settle alleged violations of EPA regulations to protect stratospheric ozone at the company's health-care manufacturing plant in North Chicago, Illinois. EPA assessed a $17,903 penalty, and the company agreed to retrofit a number of R-22 industrial process refrigeration and comfort cooling units to use non-ozone depleting alternatives.
May 21, 2004: CFC Smuggler Sentenced to Serve 17 Years in Prison
Marc M. Harris was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 204 months imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years supervised release, and a $20,324,560 fine. Mr. Harris was also ordered to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service in the amount of $6,588,949.50 for evasion of federal excise taxes on the sale of ozone-depleting refrigerants to customers in South Florida.
January 22, 2004: Wal-Mart to pay $400,000 penalty and cease sales of ozone-depleting refrigerants
Wal-Mart has agreed to pay a $400,000 civil penalty and will no longer sell ozone-depleting refrigerants at its Sam's Club stores. EPA regulations restrict the sales of ozone-depleting refrigerants to technicians who are certified to service stationary appliances or motor vehicle air-conditioners. The Complaint alleges that Sam's Club stores in eleven states sold ozone-depleting refrigerants to customers who were not properly certified.
January 21, 2004: U.S. reaches agreement with Dominick's Finer Foods
Dominick's Finer Foods, LLC has reached an agreement to resolve alleged violations of federal regulations to protect the stratospheric ozone layer. Under the agreement, Dominick's will pay a civil penalty of $85,000 for alleged past leaks of ozone-depleting refrigerants. In addition, the grocery chain has agreed to actions that will avoid the future release of over 35 tons of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerant.
July 31, 2003: Earthgrains to Pay $5.25 Million Penalty and Phase Out Refrigerants That Damage Ozone Layer
The lodging of the consent decree settles violations of Title VI of the Clean Air Act by Earthgrains Baking Companies, Metz Baking Company, Earthgrains Refrigerated Dough Products, L.P., and Coopersmith, Inc. (collectively Earthgrains). Sara Lee Corporation purchased these companies, which were incorporated into the Sara Lee Bakery Group, during the government's investigation. At the time of the purchase, Earthgrains was the second largest bakery company in the nation. The settlement requires Earthgrains to pay a $5.25 million civil penalty for having committed the largest ever corporate-wide violations of stratospheric ozone protection regulations. In addition, Earthgrains must convert all of its industrial process refrigeration appliances to refrigerant systems that do not deplete the ozone layer.
July 10, 2003: HVAC Instructor Sentenced For False Statements Related to Section 608 Technician Exams (PDF, 13K, about PDF)
Louis Molenda was an HVAC/R instructor at Universal Technical Institute in Glendale Heights, IL. He also served as an EPA-Section 608 proctor for Nugent Associates, a New York based EPA-certified testing organization. For a fee of $105, Mr. Molenda guaranteed his students a universal certification card without their having to take the EPA-Section 608 certification exam. On January 30, 2003, a grand jury in the Northern District of Illinois returned an indictment (PDF, 72 K) alleging that Mr. Molenda knowingly and willfully falsified, concealed and covered up by trick, scheme or device material facts within U.S. EPA's jurisdiction. Mr. Molenda later pled guilty to the conduct alleged in the indictment, and was sentenced in U.S. District Court to four months of home confinement and three years of probation.
February 19, 2003: Ganes Chemical of New Jersey Agrees to $303,600 Settlement with U.S. Resolving Industrial Leak Repair Violations (PDF, 63K, about PDF)
The violations at the Ganes Chemicals manufacturing facility in Pennsville concern the company's failure to timely report and repair chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) leaks at its Pennsville plant and to upgrade equipment as needed. The violations also concern the company's failure to keep and provide to the Government documentation on its compliance with federal ozone and CFC emissions standards.
January 21, 2003: Three North Carolina Air Conditioning Repairmen Plead Guilty to Venting Ozone-Depleting Refrigerants (PDF, 44K, about PDF)
Three North Carolina air-conditioning repairmen plead guilty in U.S. District Court to violating the Clean Air Act by knowingly venting ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerant, R-22, into the atmosphere. The three employees, of J & J Maintenance of Ft. Bragg, N.C., were responsible for maintaining the residential air conditioning units at Ft. Bragg. When sentenced, each defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
January 8, 2003: Kingpin in Ozone depleting CFCs Import Conspiracy Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison
The lead defendant in a complex multi-year, multi-million dollar conspiracy to import and sell ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by false pretenses was sentenced to a term of six and one-half years in prison. The defendant was also ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution, as well as a fine of $12,500. The co-conspirator was sentenced to a term of four years in prison, and was ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution.
November 1, 2002: Transportation Management Services, Inc. (TMSI) pays $45,601 penalty as a result of motor vehicle servicing violations of the Clean Air Act (PDF, 6K, about PDF)
Transportation Management Services, Inc. (TMSI) signed a Consent Agreement settling refrigerant venting violations of the Stratospheric Ozone Protection" requirements of the Clean Air Act. Under the terms of settlement, TMSI, which services eighteen-wheel trucks at its facility in Henderson, Colorado, will pay a civil penalty of $45,601 and will not maintain, service, or repair any motor vehicle air conditioners ("MVACs") in the future.
October 29, 2002: Allied Waste Systems, Inc. agrees to $3 million enforcement settlement concerning appliance disposal violations of the Clean Air Act.
ALLIED WASTE SYSTEMS, INC. ("Allied") of Boston has entered into a settlement agreement which resolves the government's claims that ALLIED violated the Clean Air Act by disposing of discarded appliances without either recovering any remaining refrigerant from the appliances or verifying that the refrigerant was previously recovered from the appliances. The proposed Consent Decree requires the company to pay a $782,550 civil penalty and spend $2.3 million on an environmental project that will improve Boston's air quality at ALLIED's Howard Transfer Station in Roxbury.
April 5, 2002: CFC Smuggler Pleads Guilty; Two Others Sentenced
Donald W. Pigeon of Pompano Beach, Florida, pleaded guilty on March 27 to violating the Clean Air Act by illegally importing approximately 300 cylinders of CFC-12 into the United States. In addition, Patrick Palmer and Chester Risker, also of Pompano Beach, were sentenced for their role in this case on March 28. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Customs Service and the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.
March 29, 2002: Michigan Man Pleads Guilty to CFC Smuggling
James M. Dolmetsch has pleaded guilty to conspiracy with at least three other individuals to smuggle the CFC-12 into the U.S. from Canada in 1996. Dolmetsch admitted to brokering the sale of the smuggled refrigerant to purchasers in the U.S. He also admitted that the conspiracy successfully smuggled and resold 63,600 lbs. of CFC-12 into the U.S.
March 6, 2002: CFC Smugglers Plead Guilty
Barry Himes, John Mucha and Richard Pelletier pled guilty today to conspiring to smuggle CFCs into the U.S. by means of false statements to U.S. Customs and the EPA, and to defrauding the IRS in its attempts to collect excise and income taxes on proceeds from the sale of the contraband. The three individuals attempted to import over 660 tons of CFCs. Accompanying the guilty pleas were agreements to civilly forfeit a $2 million mansion on the Connecticut River, a three-carat diamond ring, and two luxury BMW automobiles, all of which were purchased from the smuggling proceeds. A total of ten individuals have pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with this investigation. Nationwide to date, 114 individuals have been convicted in illegal CFC import schemes and over 56 years of imprisonment and $67 million in fines and restitution have been imposed.
February 11, 2002: Compliance Incentive Offered to Bakeries
EPA is currently inviting baking companies to participate in a voluntary compliance incentive program intended to reduce environmental and public health threats to the ozone layer. EPA investigations suggest that some large commercial bakeries are leaking CFCs and HCFCs in amounts greater than allowed under the Clean Air Act. Companies must notify EPA by April 26 of their intent to participate in this voluntary program and identify the number of appliances to be audited thereafter. The text of the Federal Register notice is available online.
January 25, 2002: Florida Men Plead Guilty to Illegal CFC Import
Patrick Palmer and Chester Risker of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act by illegally importing from the Bahamas approximately 300 cylinders of CFC-12. When sentenced each defendant faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
January 11, 2002: ATOFINA Resolves Violations in Alabama, Kentucky, Texas
ATOFINA Chemicals Inc. of Philadelphia, Pa., has entered into a settlement that will result in significant pollution control measures at the company's facilities in Alabama, Kentucky and Texas. At an estimated capital cost of $5.3 million, ATOFINA has committed to implementing pollution control measures that will reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions by approximately 2,500 tons per year and ozone-depleting substances (ODS) emissions by 750 tons per year from its facilities in Kentucky and Alabama.
January 4, 2002: Florida Importer Pleads Guilty to Clean Air Act Violation
Clifford Windsor of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, pleaded guilty on December19, 2001 to violating the Clean Air Act by illegally importing into the United States approximately 300 cylinders of CFC-12. Some of this contraband was then sold to businesses. When sentenced, Windsor faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

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