Blumenthal fights for trees

Keith Loria Aug. 31, 2010, 4:20am


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced on Monday that he has obtained a court injunction against a logger who allegedly performed illegal tree harvesting by operating without a permit.

The temporary injunction was obtained against Scott Lee, who allegedly has chopped down enough timber to build about 75 houses and has already caused significant environmental damage.

"This court order temporarily stops uncertified logging that has already destroyed trees, soil and stream channels on nearly 100 acres of land," Blumenthal said.

"Uncertified and untrained individuals engaging in commercial logging can cause significant damage. Improper logging threatens to harm not only the properties where logging occurs-but surrounding streams and land."

Lee contracted with Genesis Properties LLC to perform a timber harvest on approximately 65 acres of land in Bethel, Conn., in January. Three months later, Lee contracted with another land owner in Pomfret, Conn., to harvest timber on 30 acres of land. Lee also contracted with a property owner in Putnam, Conn., in April to harvest trees there, but he never started that project.

Under state law, to contract for and harvest 25,000 board feet in any 12-month period on another's property, a DEP Forest Practitioner Certification must be obtained. Lee has allegedly already harvested approximately 750,000 board feet in the past five months at the two properties in Bethel and Pomfret.

When state DEP foresters visited both properties, they said they discovered significant damage to inland wetlands and watercourses. Among the alleged violations were unpermitted filling of a watercourse with silt and woody debris, filling of wetlands with sediment, diversion of stream channels and erosion of hillsides. There was also excessive damage to the rutting of the soils, which disrupted soil hydrorolgy.

"My office will continue to fight for a permanent injunction to protect against unpermitted logging and needless destruction of Connecticut land," Blumenthal said.

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