SPI deserves a full refund for Moonlight Fire settlement
Sierra Pacific Industries has insisted from the beginning that it played no role in igniting the devastating Moonlight Fire in 2007. Two weeks ago, the company took the next step in an attempt to clear its name and get some more of its money back.
We cried foul in 2012 when SPI was forced to hand over $122 million ($55 million in cash and 22,500 acres of prime timberland) to the federal government.
Even if the family-owned timber company was responsible for starting the Moonlight Fire, the penalty was beyond excessive. And it could have been even worse — the government was seeking more than $700 million. Some said it was the result of a growing bounty hunter mentality by prosecutors and the courts. It was the largest settlement of its kind in U.S. history.