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Environment and Energy

Several Central Coast Costco stores part of EPA settlement

Flickr member Chris Potter

Several Costco stores along the Central Coast will soon need to update their refrigerator systems under a company settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Costco will pay $335 million in penalties for federal Clean Air Act violations and will fix refrigerant leaks, among other improvements, the agency said in a media release.

“Because of this settlement, Costco will cut its future greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to nearly 200 million pounds of carbon dioxide, supporting our efforts to cut greenhouse gases nationwide,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Investing in better equipment and maintenance to stop wasteful refrigerant leaks is good for our environment and good for business.”

In all, 274 stores are affected. On the Central Coast those stores include Salinas, Santa Maria, Goleta, and Oxnard—but not San Luis Obispo.

"The reason that some of the Costcos across the country and in the Central Coast particularly, the reason that one in Oxnard or Salinas would be on the list but the one in San Luis Obispo would not be on the list really relates to the age and condition of the refrigeration systems in question," said Blumenfeld.

Costco is not the only retailer to face this situation. Safeway stores had a similar settlement last year, and the EPA believes there will likely be more.