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$416k fine for illegal HFC23 imports

USA: In what is the largest penalty imposed so far, the US subsidiary of a Japanese chemical company will pay $416,003 for the illegal import of high GWP HFC23.

The US Environmental Protection Agency announced the settlement with Resonac America Inc to address the company’s illegal importation at the Port of Los Angeles on four occasions in 2023 and 2024. 

The company – a subsidiary of the Tokyo-based Resonac Corporation – will also destroy 1,693 lb (768kg) of the HFCs to resolve the EPA’s allegations.

It is alleged that Resonac America imported a total of 6,208 lb (2.8 tonnes) of illegal HFCs into the United States at the Port of Los Angeles on three separate occasions in October, November and December 2023. 

These imports violated the prohibition on importing bulk regulated substances into the United States without possessing sufficient consumption or application-specific allowances at the time of import. 

Resonac America is also said to have failed to give EPA the required notice of planned shipments of HFCs for the 2023 shipments and a February 2024 shipment, as well as failed to timely submit reports to the EPA with information on HFCs that the company imported in the first and second quarters of 2023.

HFC23 is a potent greenhouse gas with a 100-year GWP of 14,800. It has limited industrial applications but is still also permitted to be used as a feedstock and in ultra-low temperature refrigeration.

“This case is the largest penalty imposed to date for importing super-polluting HFCs as part of EPA’s National Enforcement and Compliance Initiative on Mitigating Climate Change—and the first to require the company to destroy the HFCs,” commented David M Uhlmann, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

Resonac was created last year following the merger of Showa Denko KK and Showa Denko Materials Co, Ltd. (formerly Hitachi Chemical Co Ltd).

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