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Gristedes_store.png Gristedes

New York grocer Gristedes to pay millions for refrigerant emissions

Grocer’s refrigeration emissions had global warming effect of driving a car 140 million miles

New York-based grocery chain Gristedes Supermarkets has signed a consent decree agreeing to pay a $400,000 civil penalty and spend roughly $13.5 million to upgrade its refrigeration equipment for its failure to limit greenhouse gas emissions from its refrigerators.

Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a press release that the U.S. filed a lawsuit against the grocer alleging violations of the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Recycling and Emissions Reduction Rule.

Gristedes failed to comply with regulations limiting refrigerant emissions, Williams said.  

A Gristedes spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment. 

“Between 2019 and 2021, Gristedes systematically violated EPA refrigerant regulations, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions at a rate far higher than others in the industry. To give a sense of scale, Gristedes’ emissions had a global warming effect equal to driving a car 140 million miles,” Williams said in a press release. “As a result of our lawsuit, Gristedes is now required to reduce its emissions by over 70% from their 2020 levels to offset at least some of the damage it has caused, and it will face significant additional penalties under the Consent Decree if it fails to do so.”

The chain owns a group of about 20 supermarkets in New York City.

The U.S. Attorney’s office noted that between 2019 and 2021, the chain emitted more than 40,000 pounds of refrigerants into the atmosphere. 

The consent decree “requires Gristedes to undertake repairs of its commercial refrigeration equipment with an estimated cost of $13.5 million to adopt a comprehensive refrigerant compliance management plan to convert three stores to utilize advanced refrigerants with low global warming potential, and to lower its corporate leak-rate below 16%.”

Failure to comply with the consent decree will result in more penalties, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

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