Mercury studies among suggestions for Texas gas co. fine August 5, 2013
MICHELLE R. SMITH, Associated Press
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Environmentalists are urging a federal judge to consider setting aside money to fund mercury studies, a program to reduce food waste and other projects as possible punishments for a Texas gas company convicted of an environmental crime in Rhode Island.
Southern Union Co. of Houston was convicted of improperly storing mercury at a dilapidated warehouse in Pawtucket. Teenaged vandals eventually got into the warehouse and spilled the mercury, making many people sick.
After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned an $18 million penalty, U.S. District Judge William Smith said he was limited to fining the company $500,000 and asked environmentalists for ideas on how to punish the company.
One proposal aims to clean up a school next to where the mercury was spilled. Another would collect compact fluorescent lamps from hardware stores.