CONTRA COSTA, Calif. – Hanson Building Materials, one of the world’s biggest construction materials companies, will pay the State of California $42.2 million for stealing 2 million cubic yards of sand from San Francisco and Suisun Bays and defrauding the state of millions of dollars in royalties.
Hanson bought two companies in 1999 and acquired their rights to dredge sand, but proceeded to dredge outside its lease areas, and told the state it was selling the sand for $3.30 a ton, which it actually sold it for $12.50 a ton, Attorney General Jerry Brown said Monday. The State also sued the companies Hanson bought – Olin Jones and Moe Sand Companies. Brown said that Olin Jones had told an environmental official that had fined his company for dredging too much sand “that they couldn’t fine him enough to stop him from over-dredging sand because mining for state sand was like ‘mining gold.'”
Hanson will keep its sand-dredging lease with the state, but will have to pay more royalties, and its equipment will be monitored by GPS devices.