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Man gets prison time in US for venting R-22

A 35-year-old man has pleaeded guilty in federal court to violating the Clean Air Act after law enforcement officers witnessed him cutting a refrigerant line on an AC unit and illegally venting R-22 into the atmosphere.

According to The ACHR News, Martin C. Eldridge III, from Columbos Ohio now faces 31 months in federal prison for releasing the refrigerant, which is currently being phased out of production in the US.

While Eldridge’s conviction seems to be an isolated incident, many are hoping it is a sign the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be cracking down on individual violations across the country

According to the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Eldridge and others stole at least 49 air conditioning units between August and October 2013 in order to sell the copper and parts for cash. Randall K. Ashe, special agent in charge of the EPA’s Criminal Enforcement Program in Ohio, said Eldridge’s “continual theft of air conditioner parts was illegal and a clear violation of the Clean Air Act.”

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