Nov 5, 2013 1:51 PM by AP
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A Texas gas company has been ordered to pay for several environmental programs in Rhode Island after the judge overseeing its criminal case took the unusual step of asking the community for ideas on the appropriate punishment for an environmental crime.
Southern Union Co. was sentenced Tuesday to pay for a fund to give communities dealing with pollution technical assistance and to pay to sample freshwater fish for mercury contamination.
The company was originally sentenced to pay an $18 million penalty for improperly storing mercury, but that sentence was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
U.S. District Judge William Smith determined the maximum sentence he could impose was $500,000, and called that number unsatisfactory and unjust given the company's conduct.