American Seafoods Co., a Seattle seafood firm, has been charged with smuggling 85 tons of ozone-depleting refrigerant into the U.S., the Seattle PI reports. In a settlement announced on Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) attorneys allege that American Seafoods fishing vessels were leaking ozone-depleting gases as early as 2006, while the company turned a blind eye. The company illegally imported the refrigerant without holding a valid permit.
The seafood firm may have to pay $700,000 in fines and will need to retrofit five fishing vessels. The firm is spinning the retrofitting as an investment, however; speaking on behalf of American Seafoods, General Counsel Matthew Latimer told the Seattle PI: “The conversion of American Seafoods Company’s vessels to non-ozone depleting refrigerants represents a significant investment by our company to ensure that we lead our industry in reducing ozone-depleting emissions.”
Pacific Longline Company has also been charged with using ozone-depleting gases and will be fined, too, according to the EPA. Both companies are subsidiaries of American Seafoods Group.
Violations under the Clean Air Act can range as high as $37,500 a day. The EPA is required to accept public comment on the proposed settlement.
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