Dredge Application Denied in Lee Environmental Case

Concord – December 4, 2008 – In a letter dated November 26, the N.H. Department of Environmental Services has denied big lake property owner Donald Lee’s application to dredge 260 cubic yards of debris from Ossipee Lake as part of a court-ordered environmental remediation.  

Lee filed the application on July 3 and was asked by DES on September 18 to provide additional information on eight issues, including how the dredge site would be accessed and where the removed debris would be “dewatered” and placed.

DES also noted that Lee’s plans were marked “Not for Construction” and asked that the plans be submitted in final form.

Reached by phone, DES official Dale Keirstead said Lee’s October 29 response to the agency’s information request was insufficient. State law requires that applicants provide “a complete response” to information requests relative to “major impact” projects. Lee has 30 days to appeal the decision. 

In September 2006, a Superior Court judge found Lee guilty of causing significant environmental damage to Ossipee Lake by building breakwaters that altered the flow of the Lovell River. The judge ordered him to remove millions of tons of debris from the lake.

Since then, the Ossipee Bluffs Association, which sued Lee over the damage, has filed two Motions for Contempt against the Massachusetts resident, accusing him of dragging his feet. 

The first motion was filed on the first anniversary of the trial, and the second was filed in July. The second motion charged that the dredge plan Lee submitted in July, which has now been denied by the state, was not the plan mandated by the court and would have resulted in the remediation of just a fraction of the damage. That motion is scheduled to be heard in State Court on January 20th.

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