Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General, DEP Seek Injunction To Stop Continued Destruction From Illegal Logging

July 26, 2010

            Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is seeking a court order to stop illegal logging in Bethel and Pomfret where extensive unpermitted tree harvesting -- enough timber to build about 75 houses -- has already caused significant environmental damage to trees, soil and stream channels.

            Blumenthal, in coordination with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), has asked the court for an injunction against Scott Lee of Pomfret. Lee has contracts to harvest trees at properties in Bethel, Pomfret and Putnam.

Lee is required to have a DEP Forest Practitioner Certification to contract for and harvest 25,000 board feet in any 12-month period on another’s property. Lee has already harvested an estimated 750,000 board feet of trees in only five months at the Bethel and Pomfret properties combined. Logging at the Putnam property has not commenced.

“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.”

DEP Commissioner Amey Marrella said, “Our agency focuses on educating and informing landowners and forest practitioners to reduce the possibility of such violations. But, when violations do occur, we have a responsibility to uphold the law and to enforce the Forest Practices Act. We take this and our other stewardship responsibilities very seriously.”

Today’s court action seeks civil penalties of up to $5,000 per day, per violation; an injunction stopping Lee from engaging in any future commercial foresting practices; and an order requiring repair work, including restoration of the wetlands and watercourses.

Around Jan. 3, Lee contracted with Genesis Properties, LLC -- owner of 142 Park Road in Bethel -- to perform a timber harvest on about 65 acres of land, which he began that month.

In April, Lee entered into another contract with the owner of 585 Mashmoquet Road in Pomfret to harvest more timber on 30 acres of land.

Connecticut DEP Foresters visited both properties and discovered significant damage to inland wetlands and watercourses, including unpermitted filling of a watercourse with silt and woody debris, filling of wetlands with sediment, erosion of hillsides, and diversion of stream channels. The harvests have also caused deep and extensive rutting of the soils, disrupting soil hydrology.

In April, Lee also contracted with the property owner of 106 Rhode Island Line Road of Putnam to illegally harvest more trees. Logging on that property has not yet begun.