Two Seafood Processors Settle Clean Air Violations for Improper Handling of Refrigerants

American Seafoods Company LLC and Pacific Longline Company LLC have agreed to phase out the use of ozone depleting refrigerants, implement a comprehensive leak detection and repair program aboard a number of their vessels and pay a penalty to resolve federal Clean Air Act violations.

The settlement, outlined in a consent decree lodged by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, concerns the improper release and illegal import of ozone depleting refrigerants. The consent decree was lodged at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle.

“The global effort to protect the ozone layer requires that companies using refrigerants manage them carefully and follow laws designed to minimize releases,” said Ed Kowalski, Director of Compliance and Enforcement at EPA’s Seattle office. “EPA is pleased that these companies have agreed to now use refrigerants on their vessels that don’t deplete the ozone.”

Stratospheric ozone depletion can cause increased ultraviolet radiation to reach the Earth and has been linked to skin cancer, cataracts and impaired immune systems. It can also damage crops and reduce crop yields. Some scientists suggest that marine phytoplankton, the base of the ocean food chain, may be under stress from ultraviolet radiation.

American Seafoods Company is one of the country’s largest seafood harvesters and at-sea processors of pollock, hake, cod, scallops and yellowfin sole. The company sells its products in the United States, Asia and Europe. American Seafoods Company and Pacific Longline Company are based in Seattle.

Between 2006 and 2009, American Seafoods Company and Pacific Longline Company used R-22 as a refrigerant in industrial refrigeration units aboard seafood catcher-processor vessels. American Seafoods illegally imported 70,000 kg of R-22 refrigerant to the United States without holding valid allowances. The United States limits the amount of R-22 that companies are permitted to import through the use of set allowances.

The consent decree also resolves violations relating to their use of ozone-depleting substances such as:

  • Failure to repair refrigerant leaks in a timely manner
  • Failure to verify adequacy of repairs to refrigeration system
  • Inadequate records of repair service on refrigerant system
  • Use of uncertified employees to perform refrigerant-related work.          
  • R-22 is among a set of refrigerants being phased out of use due its to high ozone depletion potential under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

In addition to a $700,000 penalty, the companies will spend an estimated $9 million to $15 million to convert refrigeration systems on several vessels to operate using non-ozone depleting refrigerants. The companies have also purchased and retired R-22 allowances to offset the harm caused by their illegal importation. American Seafoods Company and Pacific Longline Company are subsidiaries of American Seafoods Group.

 


 

Download Center

  • Waste Management in 2021: Accelerate Your Success with Technology

    Join waste management experts on February 23rd for a live best practice session webinar. You’ll learn how to take your waste program to the next level with visual location, barcoding, and mobility. Register now.

  • Green Quadrant EHS Software 2021

    Reserve your copy of the new report by independent analyst firm, Verdantix, to get a detailed, fact-based comparison of the 22 most prominent EHS software vendors in the industry.

  • Your Guide to Environmental Metrics that Drive Performance

    Translating sustainability into action starts with implementing the right metrics to assess your environmental risk and performance. Learn how to design metrics that improve your decision-making process and drive enterprise performance.

  • 5 Keys to Best-in-Class Chemical Management

    Running a safe chemical program is challenging and complex: from knowing what's on-site to proper handling and disposal - all while navigating regulatory changes. Learn the best ways to mitigate chemical risk, get the most value out of your data, and gain buy-in for a chemical management solution.

  • Unpacking ESG: 6 Questions You Were Too Afraid to Ask

    Environmental and Sustainability experts from Arcadis and Cority answer 6 of the most pressing questions EHS professionals have about getting started with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting.

  • Industry Safe