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Environmental Law

Gibson Guitar Corp. Settles Lacey Act Claim with DOJ Over Imported Wood

Posted Aug 6, 2012 3:48 PM CDT
By Stephanie Francis Ward

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Facing claims that it used illegally harvested wood in its products, the Gibson Guitar Corp. settled a Justice Department investigation for $350,000, the agency announced in a press release Monday.

Besides the payment, Gibson agreed to set up a compliance program to prevent future use of illegally harvested materials, the Hill’s Floor Action Blog reported. In exchange, the government will not prosecute the company under the Lacey Act. The 2008 law amended the Endangered Species Act to include criminal penalties for the importing or using illegally harvested plant materials.

The materials in question were wood from the Madagascar Ebony, an endangered tree, and illegally imported rosewood and ebony from India, according to the Justice Department. Previously the government raided the company’s Nashville facilities and seized about $260,000 worth of wood and ebony. Under the settlement, the company forfeits its right to the materials seized.

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