law

Supreme Court to re-consider R.I. mercury storing fine

Posted 11/28/11

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court will consider Southern Union Co.’s appeal of the $18 million fine for illegally storing mercury at a building in Pawtucket, according to the Associated Press.

The justices said Monday they will hear the appeal of the criminal penalty imposed by a federal judge and upheld by an appeals court.

The natural gas company used a building in Pawtucket to store outdated mercury-sealed gas regulators that had been removed from customers’ homes.

Initially, the company hired an environmental services company to safely remove the mercury, Providence Business News reported in October 2008. But the system allegedly collapsed after the removal contract expired at the end of 2001. Gas company technicians continued to remove the regulators from customers’ homes, but the mercury-containing devices then were stored in a vacant building at the end of Tidewater Street – some in plastic kiddie pools, according to the original indictment in the case – and liquid mercury also was being stored on site.

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