MONROVIA ( — Trader Joe’s will pay a $500,000 penalty and take steps to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from refrigeration equipment at 453 stores as part of a settlement reached Tuesday with federal prosecutors and regulators.

As part of the settlement, which was outlined in court papers filed in Northern California, the chain will spend about $2 million over the next three years to prevent coolant leaks from refrigeration equipment. Federal authorities said the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions anticipated from the settlement is equivalent to the emissions from 6,500 passenger vehicles driven in a year.

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“By reducing the amount of ozone-depleting refrigerants and potent greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere, this settlement will assist our efforts to control these two major global environmental problems,” Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden said in a statement.

Federal authorities said the popular grocery chain violated the Clean Air Act by failing to keep adequate servicing records of its equipment and failed to provide regulators with information about its compliance efforts, according to the Department of Justice.

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Similar settlements were previously reached with Safeway and Costco.

Trader Joe’s officials said the company “looks forward to working with the EPA in its mission to reduce air pollution and protect the ozone layer, and, with this agreement, has committed to reducing its emissions to a rate that matches the best of the industry.”

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