R-22 Crackdown Commended
The Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration NEWS
Vol. 247 No. 15
December 10, 2012- NewslineColumbus, Ohio- The Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy (ARAP) commended the U.S. government for successfully concluding 11 criminal and civil cases related to HCFC-22 refrigerant smuggling over the last two years.
Nearly a dozen individuals and companies were found guilty of various crimes related to the illegal importation or sales of more than 3.3 million pounds of HCFC-22, fined over $1.5 million, required to forfeit proceeds of over $2.7 million, and received jail and probation amounting to more than 26 years.
"The U.S. government is very serious about tracking down those who illegally import or sell HCFC-22," said Dave Stripe, executive director ARAP. "Anyone devising illegal schemes to import or sell this refrigerant is on notice that the U.S. will arrest and convict you."
ARAP cautions industry and the public to be certain that their HCFC-22 refrigerant purchases are legal, and to report and offers to buy illegally imported refrigerants to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). HCFC-22 refrigerant may be illegally produced domestically and imported into the U.s. provided that EPA-issued quota allowances are expended. Anyone importing HCFCs without legal allowances is in violation of federal law. HCFC-22 is generally used to service and maintain existing commercial air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. Newly produced equipment generally relies on HFCs and other refrigerants.
"Purchasers of the illegal refrigerant are at risk. The government may confiscate any illegally imported refrigerant, even if it has been passed down through the marketplace, and it may prosecute purchasers who knowingly buy illegal material," Stripe said. "Consumers should also be wary of the refrigerant since some of the imported material has been found to be of poor quality, or it could be counterfeit."
Purchasers of imported HCFC-22 should verify that their importer is an authorized EPA baseline consumption allowance holder, or was involved in a subsequent legal trade of consumption allowances.
The recipient of a trade can show a letter from EPA acknowledging the approval of the trade. Purchasers who question the legitimacy of an HCFC-22 importer should request a copy of the EPA approval letter from the seller. Importers of used HCFCs must follow EPA petition process requirements. Violators may be reported anonymously at www.epa.gov/tips/.