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Washington Post: Lockheed Martin CEO Fined for Tree-Cutting near Potomac

Robert J. Stevens was fined $1,000 by county officials and could face federal penalties.

Lockheed Martin CEO Robert J. Stevens is facing fines and community outrage for clear-cutting trees along the Potomac River near his home, The Washington Post reported Monday.

“A few years after Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins, was penalized for cutting down 130 trees to improve the view from his Potomac estate, one of his high-powered neighbors is coming under fire for clear-cutting nearly an acre of protected land that overlooks the C&O Canal and the Potomac River,” The Post reported.

Stevens, who lives on an estate in the Merry-Go-Round Farm community overlooking the river and the C&O Canal, cleared trees from 35,000-square-feet of land this summer, according to the report.

Stevens claims he removed the trees for safety reasons after the June 29 derecho, according to The Post's report.

County officials issued a $1,000 fine to Stevens, and federal park police are investigating whether the cutting happened in protected federal easements along the river. Federal penalties could include a fine of $1,000 “per incident” and possible jail time, The Post reported.

Some environmentalists claim that fines may not be enough to keep landowners in line with regulations.

“The more people see this happening to get a great view, they say, ‘Am I willing to pay X or Y?’ ” Hedrick Belin, the president of the Potomac Conservancy, told The Post.

How do you think tree regulations would be enforced best? Is this something the government should continue to regulate?

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