Google Talks Chemical Leak, Carbon Footprint

    May 7, 2009

Google’s trying quite hard to be a environmentally conscious company, and yesterday evening, its Green Energy Czar (yes, that’s a real title) wrote a blog post listing some efforts.  Unfortunately for the search giant’s image – and possibly for Mother Nature, too – a document released at about the same time revealed that the EPA’s looking into an alleged chemical leak. 

Google Logo

Worse still, there might have been some sort of cover-up.  In a quarterly report filed with the SEC, Google admitted, "In February 2009, we learned of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigation into an alleged release of refrigerant at one of our smaller data facilities, which we acquired from DoubleClick, and the accuracy of related statements and records."

Google’s Form 10-Q later continued, "The EPA investigation could result in fines, civil or criminal penalties, or other administrative action."  And in fact, those fines could add up to a sum of more than $100,000.

Still, the company’s doing its best to behave well in other respects.  Bill Weihl named the RechargeIT, Climate Savers Computing Initiative, RE<C, and Google PowerMeter projects on the Official Google Blog, and none of these undertakings are required by law.

Weihl seemed proud to note that Google’s actually neutralized all of its carbon emissions from 2007 and some from 2008, as well.