• North Coast Environment Council

    Formed in 1976, we are the peak umbrella environment group in northern NSW. We cover the area from the Hunter to the Tweed and west to the New England Highway. We also actively support other campaigns further afield. We receive no government funding and have no paid staff or central office. Our members and office-bearers work around the region, often travelling large distances to assist others as we organise in our defence of the environment and the communities it sustains. We rely on donations and the efforts of our members and volunteers, to remain effective. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to assist us with our work, we guarantee plenty of bang for your buck. Post us a message to this site and we will get back to you.
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North Coast conservationists are fearful that a NSW Government proposal to allow burning of wood from native forests for electricity generation will result in extensive degradation of north-east NSWs public and private forests if successful.

The EPA announced yesterday that the Government proposes to amend the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2009 so that logging residues, sawmill residues, and “trees that might otherwise be made into pulp” can be used for electricity generation. The EPA will shortly be putting the draft regulation on public exhibition. http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/epamedia/EPAMedia13071101.htm

Spokesperson for NEFA, Dailan Pugh, said that it was only last month that the export of woodchips from north-east NSW finally ended after 30 years. “Now the NSW Government wants to burn our forests to generate electricity.

With the prospect of furnaces being established throughout north-east NSW and the Hunter Valley this could lead to the unprecedented degradation of native forests”.

Our native forests are most important as homes for native plants and animals, for provision of stream flows, as storehouses of carbon and for passive recreation.

Our forests sequester significant volumes of atmospheric carbon and store it in their wood. They are worth far more left standing as carbon storehouses to generate carbon credits than they are for logging and release of their stored carbon. Burning our carbon storehouses for electricity is one of the worst things we can do for global warming.

The NSW Government should use the opportunity provided by the cessation of woodchipping to stop the ongoing degradation of our native forests by limiting logging to speciality purpose high value products” Mr. Pugh said.

Susie Russell, President of the North Coast Environment Council said there were no positives in the move to allow forests to be logged to feed in to power stations for electricity.

Sawmill waste can already be used as a fuel, what is being proposed here is that trees that were being exported as woodchip (pulp) should now be burnt” she said.

The end to export woodchipping provided the NSW Government with an opportunity to decrease logging quotas and the intensity of logging that is trashing the State Forests. Instead, they have chosen to opt for an even more destructive industry that won’t pass the sustainability test of time. The future demands innovation and clean forms of energy. This move belongs to the past,” she said.

The proposal will be on exhibition for 28 days, we urge the community to take this opportunity to say NO!” Ms Russell said.


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