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Federal Clean Air Act case settled with Redwood City auto dealer; fourth case resolved for “Freon” violation with Bay Area car repair shops

Release Date: 01/9/2007
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, (415) 947-4297

(01/09/07 -- SAN FRANCISCO) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached an agreement with a Bay Area Ford dealership for alleged Freon violations of the federal Clean Air Act.

Towne Ford, which is located on El Camino Real in Redwood City, failed to comply with the requirements of the Clean Air Act’s regulations for mechanics who service and repair automobile air conditioning systems.

Towne Ford has agreed to pay $22,000 to resolve this case. This is the fourth such case settled with the EPA’s Pacific Southwest office since in the past 12 moths.

The Clean Air Act requires that air conditioning mechanics pass an EPA-certified training and testing course. The EPA training is required regardless of any other training or certification mechanics may have. The facility must also maintain adequate records to demonstrate EPA certification of their mechanics and refrigerant recovery and recycling equipment.

The training regulations help ensure the proper handling of ozone-depleting and global warming substances that go into a car’s air conditioner, thereby minimizing the release of these chemicals into the atmosphere. The adverse effects of ultra-violet radiation from a thinning ozone layer include skin cancers, cataracts and immune system suppression.

“It is important to take every precaution to prevent Freon and its alternatives from escaping into the atmosphere,” said Deborah Jordan, director of the Air Division in the EPA’s Pacific Southwest regional office in San Francisco. “Mechanics who service these systems play a key role in preventing the release of these potentially harmful chemicals, and need to be properly trained.”

In September, South City Motors of South San Francisco agreed to pay a $20,000 penalty and Hayward Ford of Hayward agreed to pay a $10,000 penalty; and in August Broadway Motors of Oakland agreed to pay a $5,416 penalty to settle Freon cases with the EPA.

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