Three businessmen face criminal charges for transporting ash timber

Three businessmen, including the owner of a local trucking business, were arrested recently on charges that they shipped ash timber out of Greene County, where the wood is under a quarantine because the highly destructive emerald ash borer has been found within county borders.

The Albany Times-Union reports:

Charged for allegedly cutting ash trees off Game Farm Road, in Catskill, Greene County, as well as two other locations in the county, and shipping the logs to Rensselaer and Columbia counties, were: Jeff Meltz, vice president of Meltz Lumber Company in Hudson; Forest Mayer, president of Forest Mayer Log & Timber Co. in Bennington, Vt.; and Paul Kelly from Paul Kelly Trucking in Catskill.

The alleged violations happened at least eight times during February, March and April, when quarantined wood was shipped to Rensselaer and Columbia counties, according to DEC. The investigation was prompted by a tipster, according to DEC spokesman Rick Georgeson.

The DEC has written tickets and issued fines for transporting firewood, but these are the first criminal charges to be brought under the new law restricting the movement of wood within the state.