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Rally For Our Forests - This Wednesday, April 13th!

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
Aerial View of Whole Tree Biomass Harvest near Upper Musquodoboit. Brought to you by Northern Pulp. Photo by Jaime Simpson.
Aerial View of Whole Tree Biomass Harvest near Upper Musquodoboit. Brought to you by Northern Pulp. Photo by Jaime Simpson.

“Nova Scotians have a deep and abiding love for their land,” says Raymond Plourde, Wilderness Coordinator for the Ecology Action Centre. “They will, if needed, stand up in its defence. And that's what we plan on doing.”

Plourde is one of the organizers behind this Wednesday's 'Rally For Our Forests'. The rally is scheduled to hold a press conference at 10am at the Four Points Sheraton, 1496 Hollis Street, followed by a march to legislature, slated for 11:30am.

Central to the rally is the potentially disastrous combination of the Provincial Government's inaction towards the already-tabled 'Natural Resource Strategy', and the pushing ahead of the province's 'Renewable Energy Plan', a plan which Plourde says is flawed.

“Nova Scotians were invited by their government into a conversation,” says Plourde, “through the Natural Resource Strategy, about how we manage the land, and the forests, and our natural resources. Thousands of people participated, in dozens and dozens of meetings across the province. Hundreds of written submissions were given.”

The Strategy, in its trailer form, was released for public admiration and consumption in December of 2010. Contained within the Strategy are several key promises, which, if actually implemented, would stand to ameliorate some of the destructive, and non-renewable, practices currently used in Nova Scotia logging. Jaime Simpson, Forestry Coordinator of the Ecology Action Centre, outlines some of the key 'Strategic Directions' outlined in the strategy:

“(The strategy promises)...to reduce clear cutting to no more than 50% of the total land area that's cut,” says Simpson, “and that's pretty important. It would be a major step towards better forestry practices. Right now we clear cut on roughly 90% of all the cutting that takes place...If we can cut that back substantially we can shift momentum.”

Simpson continues:

“Another one is to put a ban on whole tree harvesting. Normally you leave the top and the branches behind...which sort of helps protect the soil, and the sorts of plants that might be growing underneath them...In whole tree harvesting you take the branches and the top as well. So you're removing all that material from the forest, which robs the forest of nutrients and organic matter.”

“They've also promised to stop giving public subsidies to herbicide spraying in the forest. Right now there's some six hundred thousand dollars of taxpayers' money that's spent every year to subsidize herbicide spraying on the forest.”

Sounds nice. The problem is, the Provincial Government has been sitting inactive on the Natural Resource Strategy since December of 2010. No Strategic Direction. No direction whatsoever for the moment.

A government with one wheel in the ditch when it comes to caring for the environment is nothing new, but the dallying in this case is rendered disastrous by the pushing forward of the Provincial Department of Energy's 'Renewable Energy Plan'. The Renewable Energy Plan contains the hopeful mandate of having Nova Scotia hooked up to 25% 'renewable energy' by 2015. The loftier goal of 40% renewable energy is set for 2020.

Sounds nice. The problem is, energy from biomass burning has been earmarked as a renewable source of energy. Trees get burned as biomass, and without a Natural Resource Strategy in place, lots more trees around the province stand to be whole-tree clear cut.

“One of the key recommendations to come out of the Renewable Energy Plan was to go very slow on biomass energy production.” says Simpson. “Basically, don't ramp it up at all until we know the impacts of all this.”

“The government, contrary to that advice, seems to be allowing a lot more biomass to go ahead, and in fact the current state of affairs is that they are allowing for a million additional harvesting tons per year, specifically for biomass energy, and that would be roughly a 20% increase in total harvesting in the province.”

With Nova Scotia Power proudly touting the go-ahead on its 208-million-dollar biomass co-generation plant in Port Hawkesbury, and the recent sale of the Pictou mill to global-pollution champions Asia Pulp and Paper, the writing is on the proverbial wall. There is a window of opportunity to look beyond the promise of creating 150 jobs in languishing Port Hawkesbury, beyond the burning of our forests for dirty electricity, towards stewarding the forests for the next generations. And that window, according to Raymond Plourde, is quickly closing. Says Plourde:

“We all know that if we do not stop the biomass juggernaut before it gets started...If we allow those machines to be built, and the millions of dollars that it will take to invest in them...if we can't stop biomass before those machines are built, then heaven and earth will not be enough to stop them once they have been built....Now is the time for Nova Scotians to stand up and to defend their forests, and to speak for their forest. Because the forest, and the animals that live in it, cannot speak for themselves. Its up to us.” 

Rally For Our Forests is slated to begin with a press conference at 10am at the Four Points Sheraton, 1496 Hollis Street, followed by a march to legislature, scheduled for 11:30am. Everyone is urged to attend.

For more information on the press conference and rally, please contact:

Jamie Simpson, EAC Forestry Program Coordinator
902-429-1335, eacforestry@gmail.com

Raymond Plourde,  EAC Wilderness Coordinator
902-442-5008, wilderness@ecologyaction.ca 


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882 words



this is big.


underneath all this is stephen harrper, peter mackay and danny williams setting up to link Newfoundland and Labrador with Nova Scotia via a subsea cable, and run all the power they can to the states to ensure their energy security. the water and forests are being targeted since they fit into a nice neat bundle. first was the hydro, then comes the biomass and last but not least water exports.


we need to stop this and make sure we get ecosystem-based landuse planning in place before EMERA and NALCOR hook into the states and export everything under NAFTA.


if we do not act in a few years there will be a CEO telling us when and where we can turn on a tap.


if the NL grid gets hooked into the mainland there could be some dangerous precedents lurking in our legislation that have never been considered as NAFTA issues (ie Star Lake Hydro Development - a private hydro dam on a 1000yr lease that was Abitbi's but is now NALCOR's via expropriation under williams).


have you seen a biomass harvester? its basically a big vacuum that sucks up the forest and spits out wood chips. very ugly. http://www.rotochopper.com/applications/logs-and-whole-trees.html. there won't be anything resembling a forest left.


and we thought the pulp companies were bad? they were just softening us up with those guys...

Natural Resources Strategy

On April 12th 2011, the frontpage of the Cape Breton Post featured a photo of the blast at the Prince Mine site on Friday, and both CBC TV and CBC Radio in Sydney broadcast interviews with a number of local residents.

MINING is also a part of the Natural Resources Strategy but you wouldn't know it listening to the province's professional environmental NGOs or attending any of their rallies in Halifax or visiting any of their websites. Go figure!!!!!




Sorry for overlooking this

Sorry for overlooking this important aspect of the Resource Strategy. We'll right this oversight shortly.


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