Update on illegal R-22 imports
Arkema Inc., along with other major industry manufacturers, supports the efforts of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other governmental agencies to curtail the unauthorized import and purchase of R-22 refrigerant, a regulated ozone-depleting refrigerant that is also known as HCFC-22. This program, code-named Operation Catch-22, includes a new industry-sponsored web site (Catch-22 Compliance Line) that enables users to report suspected illegal import and/or purchase of the refrigerant.
The Clean Air Act, and its implementing regulations, established a schedule to phase out the production and importation of ozone-depleting substances beginning in 2002, with a complete ban starting in 2030. Proper authorization by the EPA is needed to legally import HCFC-22. The EPA is actively investigating smuggling and distribution of HCFC-22 through the multi-agency Operation Catch-22 initiative.
Anyone importing HCFCs without legal allowances is in violation of federal law, and purchasers of illegal refrigerant are at risk as well. It is important that you protect yourself by knowing your refrigerant source! Those who illegally deal in R-22 in the U.S. are subject to seizure of the product, large fines, and even imprisonment. The full extent of the law was shown in one case involving a smuggling operation where a Florida man was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, and a Florida corporation was sentenced to five years of probation for the illegal smuggling of 418,654 kilograms of HCFC-22 in 29,000 cylinders (estimated market value of over $3.9 million) over several shipments.
For reporting suspected violations, you may call 866-506-6134. Direct reports to the EPA can be made here. End users are encouraged to use any of these resources for the identification of illegal R-22 activity.
Arkema Inc. is dedicated to providing our customers with legal R-22 refrigerants, using allocated allowances, ongoing investments in reclaim services, and alternative refrigerants developed by Arkema at competitive prices throughout the HCFC-22 phase out.