SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice have announced a $3.5 million settlement with Meyer's Bakery, headquartered in Little Rock, Ark., resulting from violations under the Clean Air Act. The agreement represents the largest settlement in the history of the EPA's stratospheric ozone protection program.

According to EPA officials, Meyer's Bakery, located in Arizona City, AZ; Orlando, FL; Hope, AK; Wichita, KS; and Cleburne, TX, released thousands of pounds of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) into the environment through unrepaired appliance leaks. Furthermore the EPA alleged that operators did not conduct leak checks, complete service records, or develop a retrofit or replacement plan for leaking systems.

"These enforcement actions reflect the Agency's commitment to protect human health and the environment and ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act," said Amy Zimpfer, the director of the EPA's air division for the Southwest Region. "It is imperative that businesses using refrigerants manage them responsibly so that the ozone layer will continue to protect us from harmful ultraviolet radiation."

"This penalty marks the largest civil fine to date under the government's program to control emissions that destroy the earth's ozone layer," said Lois Schiffer, assistant attorney general for the environment at the Justice Department. (Source: EPA)