BIG FIGHT AHEAD FOR LOCAL CONSERVATIONISTS WITH PASSAGE OF RENEWABLE
The vote in the Senate last week (Thursday 20/8) to include native forest wood
in the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) signals that conservationists
have a big fight ahead of them to stop the industrial scale burning of native
forest wood for energy, according to Chipstop spokesperson, Ms Harriett Swift.
"We expect to be part of a national campaign of groups who are determined to
stop wood fired power projects around Australia, now that this Bill has passed."
Ms Swift said that one major result of lobbying in the lead up to the vote on
the Bill is that the industry has shown its hand.
"The National Association of Forest Industries (NAFI) and its client
organisation, Timber Communities Australia have made it very clear in their
comments on the Bill that their strong intention is to be able to burn the 95%
of the forest that is currently woodchipped," she said.
"While the MRET Bill does not currently allow them to do that, it removes one of
the biggest hurdles that the proposed wood fired power station at the Eden
chipmill has to jump.
"The Commonwealth regulatory regime is now settled, but the chipmill power
station must still complete a NSW Government planning process. However, there is
little reason to have confidence that this will be rigorous or even honest," she
Ms Swift says that the government and chipmill managers still have no answer to
challenges to explain how this electricity can be considered renewable when its
"waste wood" fuel is only available because they woodchip one million tonnes of
native forest each year.
"They have failed to respond to our argument that when you take account of the
whole life cycle of the fuel, industrial burning of native forest wood generates
about six times the greenhouse gas emissions as coal fired electricity," she
Ms Swift says that conservationists from the south east region had put up a
great fight to stop the Bill passing and know they have a big fight ahead of
"But we are up for that," she says.
23 August 2009