State files suit to block stump dump operation BALTIMORE COUNTY

February 12, 1993|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Staff Writer

Three days after warning James J. Jett to stop operating his stump-mulching operation at the Granite stump dump because he doesn't have a permit, the state Department of the Environment filed suit yesterday, seeking a permanent injunction.

The state asks that Judge James T. Smith Jr. order Mr. Jett to stop processing tree stumps, logs and other wood debris without a state natural-wood recycling permit. It also seeks to impose fines of up to $10,000 a day if Mr. Jett does not comply, said John Goheen, an MDE spokesman.

In the suit, lawyers for the MDE wrote that by ignoring the state's permit regulations, Mr. Jett has demonstrated a "flagrant disregard" for the state's environmental laws.

Mr. Jett, whose five-acre dump in the 8700 block of Dogwood Road has been burning since Feb. 1, 1990, applied for the state permit last week. The state has not yet granted the permit. A county permit also has not been issued.

"I'm delighted to hear they filed the injunction," said Rosalyn Roddy, president of the Greater Patapsco Community Association, which has been fighting Mr. Jett and his stump dump operations for years.

Last week, Judge Smith, who had visited the site, told Mr. Jett the fire hazard had been reduced enough to allow resumption of some operations, provided he obtained the necessary state and local permits. The judge warned Mr. Jett that any violations of his order would be dealt with severely.

Michael Tanczyn, Mr. Jett's attorney, could not be reached for comment last night. However, in court last week, he argued that his client should be allowed to operate under a grandfather clause because Mr. Jett operated the stump dump long before the county and state permit regulations were passed.

Officials at MDE said they don't believe a grandfather exception applies to Mr. Jett, who has not been allowed to operate the stump dump legally since the summer of 1991, when Judge Smith imposed the original injunction.

Yesterday, state inspectors filed affidavits saying they saw Mr. Jett bring several loads of stumps and other wood debris onto the dump last Friday and Monday. They also saw him bring debris to the dump Tuesday, a day after he was warned to stop.

Jason Twell, one of the state inspectors, said that on Tuesday, after Mr. Jett accepted several loads of stumps and was again warned, Mr. Jett "told me that the [state] had no jurisdiction over him and that I was trespassing. He asked me to leave."

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