Lumber Liquidators will Pay $13.5 Million for Illegally Harvested Wood
Hardwood flooring distributor Lumber Liquidators will pay $13.5 million in penalties and face five years of probation for illegally importing wood sourced from forests that protect endangered species.
A federal judge sentenced the company following an October 2015 settlement in which it pleaded guilty to violating the Lacey Act. The federal law prohibits harvesting and selling lumber from areas that are homes to endangered species. The imported hardwood floors were made in China using illegally cut Mongolian oak trees in Russia.
The trees protect and provide a habitat for Siberian tigers and amur leopards.
Along with a five-year probation, the company will pay $7.8 million in criminal fines, $1.2 million in community service payments, $970,000 in criminal forfeiture and $3.2 million in civil forfeiture.
Problems for Lumber Liquidators began last march when a 60 Minutes report found that laminate flooring sold by the company contained high levels of toxic chemicals including formaldehyde, lead and fire retardants. Tests commissioned by the news organization found that 30 of the 31 boxes tested had formaldehyde levels 13 times higher than allowed by law. Formaldehyde is a known cancer-causing chemical.
The company distributed more than 26,000 air quality test kits following the report and vowed to stop importing laminate floors from China.