SACRAMENTO – The California Air Resources Board reached a settlement agreement with The Albertsons Companies, Inc. for $5.1 million for violations of the Refrigerant Management Program (RMP) that regulates large, stationary industrial refrigerant systems to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
During regular inspections under the RMP, CARB investigators found that Albertsons failed to comply with the program’s requirements across Albertsons stores in California between 2016-2018. Violations included failure to annually audit and calibrate automatic leak detection equipment; failure to ensure that all detected refrigerant leaks were repaired within 14 days of detection by a certified technician; failure to accurately register and report their stores' refrigeration systems; and failure to maintain required records for at least five years.
“California committed to an accelerated reduction of greenhouse gases to meet state targets, and the Refrigerant Management Program has been a highly successful tool for achieving our climate goals. I’d like to congratulate our investigation and settlement teams for their effort and diligence in identifying and processing this case,” said CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey.
Albertsons’ settlement includes a $2.55 million civil penalty and $2.55 million in funding for two Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEP). The penalties will be equally split between a SEP to install air filtration systems in schools through the South Coast Air Quality Management District and another for a Placer County community-based project through Placer County Air Quality Management District.
Albertsons is the largest retail grocery chain in California. The company was fully cooperative throughout the investigation; made good faith efforts to come into compliance and reach a settlement with CARB; and, signed a compliance plan to ensure ongoing compliance with the RMP regulation.
The Refrigerant Management Program was adopted in 2009 as a measure under the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from large stationary refrigeration systems. Most refrigeration systems in retail food use high-global refrigerants that have a high global warming potential (high-GWP), trapping heat in the atmosphere much more effectively than carbon dioxide, the most prevalent greenhouse gas.
CARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. CARB is the lead agency for climate change programs and oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health-based air quality standards.