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Put biomass plant on hold until overcutting investigated

by Margaree Environmental Association


The matter we raise with herein is an emergency, and must be dealt with as such.  We urgently recommend a hold be put on forest harvesting for the biomass plant in Port Hawkesbury so a forensic audit can be carried out in regards to such harvesting being unsustainable and destructive to both the environment and high value local forest business operations in Eastern Nova Scotia.

 The Margaree Environmental Association is deeply concerned about the direction the forest industry has taken in the province of Nova Scotia, and in particular in the Seven Eastern Counties, which comprise the catchment area of the Port Hawkesbury biomass plant. This plant has shown itself to be a voracious consumer of wood fiber, well beyond an appropriate scale of use and allocation of wood resources in this area. The fallout from this over-consumption is considerable.

 Existing and prospective businesses, who are creating high valued wood products for domestic use and export, are being deprived of the quality of material needed to continue profitable operations.   These businesses now threaten to fail and close, resulting in the loss of jobs, the loss of diversity for economic sustainability, and the loss of a  more than a generation of small business development and expertise.

 Woodland operations are compromised and the forest environment is being degraded because contractors are forced to cut corners due to the low value of biomass fiber. And quality logs are being diverted away from their highest value end product toward a plant that is demanding more and more of our precious forests.  

We raised these concerns at the URB hearing as interveners to the biomass plant being built, and these concerns have now become a reality.  Furthermore there is no need for the power from this plant for Nova Scotia’s electricity supply.

 It is appears that, despite the rules and guidelines governing resource allocation and forest protection, Natural Resources staff are allowing quality material to flow directly to this plant, the lowest value utilization of our forest resource, which was not supposed to happen. Too much is also being cut.

We the undersigned spent  most of the previous decade as involved members of the Stora and then New Page Forest Advisory Committee in part to ensure what is taking place now in our hardwood forests would not happen.

 A critical review of the impacts of the the scale of operation currently conducted by the Port Hawkesbury biomass plant must be done immediately.   The review must consider the threats to current and potential businesses as well the impacts on the forest environment, and the roadblocks such threats and impacts impose on our goal of social, environmental and economic sustainability.

 This matter is an emergency and should be dealt with immediately as such by Premier McNeil on behalf of Nova Scotians.

 

Brian Peters                                                                      Neal Livingston

Co-chair                                                                             Co-Chair

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Topics: Environment
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