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Costco Enters Settlement With EPA Over Chemical-Leaking Refrigerators, Freezers

Costco Wholesale Corporation will pay a settlement after the EPA found refrigerators and freezers leaking chemical gasses at almost 300 of its stores. Fourteen of the Costco stores are in Arizona.

Costco has agreed to pay $335,000 in penalties and fines for violating federal Clean Air Act standards. EPA regional administrator Jared Blumenfeld said Costco allowed more than 200 million pounds of carbon dioxide and other ozone-depleting greenhouse gas emissions to escape into the air between 2004 and 2007.

“They were leaking this refrigerant R-22 into the atmosphere at a rate much higher than is the industry standard, so we entered into negotiations with them and this settlement helps bring all of their stores into compliance by 2017,” Blumenfeld said.

The EPA estimated Costco will spend $2 million on repairs. A Costco spokeswoman said the company does not comment on legal issues involving its stores. 

KJZZ Senior Field Correspondent Steve Shadley is no stranger to the issues shaping Arizona.