MESA COUNTY, Colo. - A company has paid a $255,000 fine after federal prosecutors accused it of removing and selling about 153,429 tons of sand and gravel taken from public land in western Colorado without authorization from the Bureau of Land Management.
Merial I. Currier and Currier Gravel Pit Inc. denies trespassing and had filed an appeal challenging whether the 9-acre gravel mining pit was on BLM land, said Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S Attorney's Office. The firm agreed to the monetary settlement without admitting any wrongdoing.
However, prosecutors say the gravel company operated the 9-acre mining pit on public land in Mesa County for 19 years until 2010.
The federal government says Currier, or its predecessor Carleton Currier, also constructed a 4-acre reservoir on BLM land near the town of Colbran -- again without any permission from the BLM.
"Taking minerals from public land without a permit harms the people of the United States," said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. "If you do it, there will be swift and certain consequences."
Under the settlement, Currier will pay $255,000 for the more than 300 million pounds of sand and gravel it removed and sold and agreed to repair the damaged land. The firm also dropped its appeal of the government sanction.