Southern Union Company (NYSE:SUG) today announced that the U.S. Supreme Court has granted its petition for a Writ of Certiorari and will review the company’s 2009 sentence for an environmental violation.
Eric D. Herschmann, vice chairman, president and chief operating officer of Southern Union, said, “We are gratified that the Supreme Court will hear our case. Southern Union was the victim of a crime by vandals who broke into one of our facilities. The company voluntarily bore the cost of the cleanup and was commended for its efforts by the state of the Rhode Island. We look forward to arguing our position before the Supreme Court.”
The matter stemmed from a 2004 break-in at the company’s Pawtucket, Rhode Island facility, in which vandals found and released mercury at the site and in a nearby neighborhood. The company sold its Rhode Island operations in 2006. Although the company had been commended by the state for its clean-up efforts, the then U.S. Attorney in Rhode Island filed a three-count indictment against the company in 2007. The company was convicted of a single violation of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act for storage of mercury without a permit and sentenced to a fine of $6 million and a payment of $12 million in community service. The company appealed the conviction to the First Circuit, a panel of which affirmed the conviction and the sentence. The First Circuit denied rehearing en banc, leading to the filing of the petition for a Writ of Certiorari at the U.S. Supreme Court.
About Southern Union Company
Southern Union Company, headquartered in Houston, is one of the nation’s leading diversified natural gas companies, engaged primarily in the transportation, storage, gathering, processing and distribution of natural gas. The company owns and operates one of the nation’s largest natural gas pipeline systems with more than 20,000 miles of gathering and transportation pipelines and one of North America’s largest liquefied natural gas import terminals, along with serving more than half a million natural gas end-user customers in Missouri and Massachusetts. For further information, visit