Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The EPA Cracks Down on Illegal R-22 Importation and Sale

The Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy, an industry coalition, said in November 2012 the United States government successfully concluded 11 criminal and civil cases related to HCFC-22 refrigerant smuggling over the last two years. The alliance said that individuals and companies were found guilty of various crimes related to the illegal importation or sale of over 3.3 million pounds of R-22, fined over $1.5 million, required to forfeit proceeds of almost $2.7 million, and received jail and probation amounting to over 26 years.

“The U.S. government is very serious about tracking down those who illegally import or sell HCFC-22. Anyone devising illegal schemes to import or sell this refrigerant is on notice that the U.S. will arrest and convict you,” said Dave Stirpe, alliance executive director.

Only Buy Legal R-22

Stirpe went on to say that the alliance cautions industry and the public to be certain that their R-22 refrigerant purchases are legal, and to report any offers to buy illegally imported refrigerants to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). R-22 refrigerant may be legally 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. R-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,” Stirpe said. “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. 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.”

He went on to say that purchasers of imported R-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. An EPA list of baseline consumption allowance holders can be found at

Some other points made by the alliance about importation and purchase of R-22:

• 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 listed at

• Violations should be reported at, and may be done so anonymously.

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