Environmental Protection

Safeway Agrees to Reduce Emissions

"This first-of-its-kind settlement will benefit all Americans by cutting emissions of ozone-depleting substances across Safeway's national supermarket chain," added Robert G. Dreher, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division.

Safeway has reached a settlement with EPA that involves the largest number of facilities ever under the Clean Air Act's regulations governing refrigeration equipment, EPA announced Sept. 4.

The settlement resolves allegations that Safeway violated the act by failing to promptly repair leaks of HCFC-22, a hydro-chlorofluorocarbon that is a greenhouse gas and is used as a coolant in refrigerators, and also failed to keep adequate records of the servicing of its refrigeration equipment. The agency's news release says Safeway will implement a corporate refrigerant compliance management system to comply with stratospheric ozone regulations and will cut its corporate-wide average leak rate from 25 percent in 2012 to 18 percent or below in 2015.

"Safeway's new corporate commitment to reduce air pollution and help protect the ozone layer is vital and significant," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "Fixing leaks, improving compliance and reducing emissions will make a real difference in protecting us from the dangers of ozone depletion, while reducing the impact on climate change."

"This first-of-its-kind settlement will benefit all Americans by cutting emissions of ozone-depleting substances across Safeway's national supermarket chain," added Robert G. Dreher, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "It can serve as a model for comprehensive solutions that improve industry compliance with the nation's Clean Air Act."

The release said this settlement is part of EPA's national enforcement initiative to control harmful air pollution from the largest sources of emissions, including large grocery stores. Safeway, with its headquarters in Pleasanton, Calif., is the second-largest grocery chain in North America with 1,412 stores in the United States and 2012 revenues of $44.2 billion.

The settlement was filed Sept. 4 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. It will be available for viewing at www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.

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