15 Dec Judge Rejects SG Interest & GEC Antitrust Settlement
December 15, 2012
A US District Judge in Colorado denied a proposed settlement between the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and Gunnison Energy Corporation and SG Interests. The settlement would have been the culmination of a complaint brought by the Department of Justice that charged Gunnison Energy Corporation and SG Interests with collusion in bidding for federal mineral leases offered by the Bureau of Land Management.
“We are please that the Court rejected this sweetheart deal for Gunnison Energy and SG Interests,” CHC Director Jim Ramey said. “The Department of Justice needs to crack down on these companies for the very serious allegations of defrauding taxpayers and the federal government, not just let them off the hook with a slap on the wrist. These companies need to be held to a higher standard when doing business on America’s public lands.”
CHC coordinated a letter in April from numerous conservation groups urging the Department of Justice and the courts to reconsider the proposed settlement because it was no more than a slap on the wrist for the flagrant violation shown by the two companies for the public’s trust.
In denying the $550,000 settlement, the judge seemed to agree and wrote that “There is no basis for saying that the approval of these settlements would act as a deterrence to these defendants and others in the industry.”
The judge described GEC’s response to public comments about the proposed settlement as demonstrating “unrepentant arrogance” and went on to state that “it is not in the public interest to approve a final judgment that permits a defendant to leave its civil action in such a smirking, self-righteous attitude.”
Thanks to the many North Fork Valley citizens who wrote comments and applied pressure to the Department of Justice. Read the Court’s ruling here.