Environmental Protection

Bristol-Myers Squibb Agrees to Upgrade Facilities

Bristol-Myers Squibb, an international pharmaceutical manufacturer, has agreed to reduce the output of ozone-depleting refrigerants at multiple industrial facilities around the country at a combined cost of $3.65 million in order to resolve violations of the Clean Air Act, the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on July 8.

Under an agreement filed in federal court in Evansville, Ind., New-York based Bristol-Myers Squibb will be required to retire or retrofit 17 industrial refrigeration units by July 2009 at facilities in Mt. Vernon and Evansville, Ind.; Hopewell, N.J.; and Humacao and Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. The units are used in the facilities' industrial process or as air conditioners and currently use hydrochlorofluorocarbons as refrigerants.

The company has agreed to change over the seventeen units to use only non ozone-depleting refrigerants. In addition, the company has agreed to perform a supplemental environment project that will involve retiring two comfort cooling units at its New Brunswick, N.J., plant and connecting the air conditioners to the company's new centralized refrigeration system. The new system uses water-chilled coolers.

Combined, the measures that the company is performing will remove more than 6,350 pounds of hydrochlorofluorocarbons from their operations. Further, the company will take additional steps to ensure compliance with EPA regulations at 13 of its facilities and pay $127,000 in civil penalties.

Following an EPA information request to ensure compliance with ozone-depletion regulations for the Evansville facility, Bristol Myers-Squibb voluntarily conducted an audit of 25 of its other facilities and reported all potential violations that were discovered. The audit uncovered potential violations at the 13 facilities in six states—Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York—and Puerto Rico.

"Bristol-Myers Squibb has acted responsibly, not only to discover, document, and correct past violations, but to eliminate the use of potentially-damaging refrigerants in its operations," said Granta Nakayama, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "These actions will help to protect the ozone layer, ensuring a safer environment for our future generations."

The proposed consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. Bristol-Myers Squibb is required to pay the penalty within 30 days of the court's approval of the settlement. A copy of the consent decree is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/open.html.

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