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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 says.
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 says.
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 them.
"But we are up for that," she says.
23 August 2009
Between 2,500 and 3,000 trees from SE NSW and East Gippsland are cut down every working day to supply the Eden chipmill
campaign against woodchipping the SE forests, 02-64923134, PO Box 797 Bega NSW 2550 Australia,
CHIPSTOP on YouTube"v=3CmofsL8xhg