PERU — The Maine Forest Service reported Friday that it fined T.R. Dillon Logging Inc. of Madison $35,000 for improper clear-cuts within the past two years on Dillon land in Peru and Industry.
The forest service and Dillon entered an agreement to resolve the violations of state forest practices law, Tim Post, MFS field team leader, said in Augusta.
Post said the Peru clear-cut was 212 acres at the end of Burgess Hill Road, which is south of Route 108. The Industry clear-cuts were 32 acres and 101 acres off Rand Road.
He said they didn’t have harvest plans prepared by a licensed forester prior to the harvests. A required on-site review of the two larger cuts also wasn’t done, he said.
Under the settlement agreement, T.R. Dillon Logging agreed to pay the civil penalty.
Additionally, “we made them draw up management plans for the three separate clear-cuts,” Post said.
“And the one in Peru, there was a ‘No harvesting for 10-year-period’ on the lot, and that needs to meet the regeneration requirements in five years and it already does.”
The same goes for the large cut in Industry, which had the same clause.
For the 32-acre clear-cut, T.R. Dillon Logging must set aside a separation zone of 37 acres that can’t be harvested for 10 years, he said.
Company Vice President Scott Dillon told the Maine Forest Service that they didn’t intend to create any clear-cut, Post said.
“These types of violations often result from inadequate harvest planning and supervision,” he said.
“When landowners harvest to the minimum requirements of the Forest Practices Act, but fail to leave enough of the right trees, it can result in the unintentional creation of clear-cuts and forest practices law violations.”
As part of the settlement agreement, the logging firm must also host a training session that the forest service will put on for Dillon and their contractors this spring.
“They’ve actually been asking a ton of questions since we had the settlement agreement, so they’re trying to stay out of trouble,” Post said.
Penalties for forest practices rule violations are intended to remove the financial benefit obtained through such violations to make them effective as deterrents, Doug Denico, Maine Forest Service director, said.
“Our goal is to improve the management of Maine’s forests,” Denico said.
“When violations do occur, however, we have a responsibility to uphold the law. We take this and our other responsibilities very seriously.”
Post said forest rangers discovered most of the clear-cuts and notified investigators.
He said T.R. Dillon Logging is aware of state forestry laws, having been last fined by the MFS in 2004 for violations in Charleston.
“So this isn’t their first time,” Post said.
“Our penalty is based on the reoccurrence in a five-year period and they’ve exceeded that, so it’s still based on their first-time penalty.”
He said the $35,000 civil penalty “is fairly high.”
“The penalty is actually based on the amount of wood they cut in excess of the legal limits,” he said.
Should Dillon be found in violation within a five-year period, that fine will double, Post said.
Putting it into perspective, he said the highest fine levied by the service, so far, is $95,000.
“Yeah, $35,000 is quite a bit of money for cutting your own wood,” Post said.
“We’ve heard that comment many times. It will be a deterrent for them.”