Blumenthal: Logger damaging wetlands

Blumenthal

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is seeking an injunction against a logger over alleged illegal tree harvesting, his office announced on Monday.

Blumenthal, in coordination with the Department of Environmental Protection, is seeking a court order against Scott Lee, who has contracts to harvest trees at properties in Bethel, Pomfret and Putnam, but allegedly doesn't have the proper permits to do the work.

"We are seeking an immediate court order to stop logging that has already destroyed trees, soil and stream channels on nearly 100 acres of land," Blumenthal said.

"Timber harvesting by unqualified individuals can damage not only these private properties, but threaten surrounding streams and land. We will fight to stop future harm-but also to repair existing damage done to the Connecticut forest."

Lee contracted with Genesis Properties LLC to perform a timber harvest on approximately 65 acres of land in January. Three months later, Lee contracted with another land owner in Pomfret to harvest timber on 30 acres of land. Lee also contracted with a property owner in Putnam in April to harvest trees there.

Under state law, to contract for and harvest 25,000 board feet in any 12 month period on another's property, you must obtain a DEP Forest Practitioner Certification.

Lee, who doesn't have this certification, is believed to have harvested nearly 750,000 board feet of trees in only five months at the Bethel and Pomfret properties combined, Blumenthal says. Logging at the Putnam property has not yet started.

Blumenthal alleges damage to inland wetlands and watercourses. He also alleges unpermitted filling of a watercourse with silt and woody debris, extensive rutting of the soils and erosion of hillsides.

Blumenthal's court order also seeks civil penalties of up to $5,000 per day for each violation and to hold Lee responsible for any repair work and restoration of the wetlands and watercourses.

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