Jonesboro man fined for forest violations

Posted July 16, 2009, at 9:04 p.m.

COOPER, Maine — The Maine Forest Service has entered into an agreement with Albert Caruso of Jonesboro for violations three years ago of the state’s forest practices law in the town of Cooper.

“These types of violations often result from inadequate harvest planning and supervision,” Regional Enforcement Coordinator Paul Larrivee said.

“When landowners harvest to the minimum requirements of the state’s forest practices rules, but fail to leave enough of the right trees, it can result in the unintentional creation of clear-cuts and rule violations.

“Also, when landowners purchase land, harvest timber and plan to resell the parcel or any portion of it, they need to be aware of the laws pertaining to liquidation harvesting.”

According to Larrivee, a consent agreement between the parties was approved June 1 at Washington County Superior Court.

Larrivee explained that in 2006, Caruso sold the standing timber on his 100-acre parcel in Cooper to Louisiana Pacific Corp. The timber harvesting resulted in a 35-acre clear-cut that had neither an adequate separation zone nor a harvest plan prepared by a licensed forester before the harvest, as required by the state’s forest practices law.

In a 2007 settlement agreement, Louisiana Pacific accepted responsibility for the violations as the owners of the timber and agreed to pay a $5,000 penalty. At that time, a settlement could not be reached between the Maine Forest Service and Caruso, and the matter was referred to the Maine Attorney General’s Office.

In the consent order finally crafted last month, Caruso accepted responsibility for the violations and agreed to pay a $15,000 civil penalty. The civil penalty is intended to remove the financial benefit associated with the violations. The order also prevents any commercial timber harvesting on the property until 2016.

Both parties have paid the civil fines.

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