Processing Magazine

Bristol-Myers settles Clean Air violations

July 11, 2008
The Associated Press is reporting that pharmaceuticals maker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. has agreed to spend $3.65 million to resolve federal Clean Air Act violations by eliminating ozone-depleting refrigerants at factories in six states and Puerto Rico.

Bristol-Myers also agreed to pay $127,000 in penalties to resolve claims brought by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

A proposed consent decree filed recently in federal court in Evansville, Ind., details the New York-based company''s plan to retire or retrofit 17 refrigeration units by July 2009 that use hydrochlorofluorocarbons -- a gas that, when leaked, damages the ozone layer that protects Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation.

Those and other changes at Bristol-Myers will remove more than 6,350 pounds of hydrochlorofluorocarbons from the company''s operations, the Department of Justice said in a statement.

Thinning of the ozone layer has been linked to skin cancer and eye damage in humans.

The 17 refrigeration units at plants in Mount Vernon and Evansville, Ind.; Hopewell, N.J.; and Humacao and Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, will switch to refrigerants that do not deplete stratospheric ozone.

In addition, Bristol-Myers will ensure 13 plants in Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Puerto Rico comply with the EPA''s ozone-depletion regulations. Potential violations were found at those plants when the company audited a total of 25 plants to determine its compliance with the EPA''s regulations.

Bristol-Myers also will retire two cooling units at its New Brunswick, N.J., plant and connect them to a new system that uses water-chilled coolers.