October 14, 2010
The UARB approved today NS Power Inc.’s proposed forest biomass energy project with NewPage Corp.
“We respect the Board’s decision,” says Jamie Simpson, forestry program coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre, “but we are extremely disappointed that our Government has created the legal conditions to allow this project.”
“This project entails a major increase in forest cutting, and a rise in carbon emissions,” explains Simpson. “In the real world, there is no public good to this project, relative to the alternatives.”
“The government’s renewable energy regulations are to be released tomorrow, so how has the Board made its decision without clear and definitive renewable energy regulations?” asks Brennan Vogel, energy coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre.
“We strongly believe the NDP government must show leadership -- now more than ever Nova Scotia needs stringent regulation of forest harvesting practices. Allowing this project to go forward before new forestry regulations are released is really putting the cart before the horse.”
The NS Department of Natural Resources is soon to release targets for its new Natural Resources Strategy, including regulations on clearcutting and herbicide spraying.
The project will also increase carbon emissions, despite claims of being “carbon neutral”.
“Massachusetts is updating its renewable energy laws based on forest biomass energy and carbon emissions research,” says Simpson. “This project would not qualify as renewable energy in Massachusetts. How can our Government call this project carbon-neutral with a straight face?”
The Ecology Action Centre supports small-scale biomass heating projects such as were recently announced in Prince Edward Island. “But large-scale forest biomass electricity is not the way to go,” says Simpson. “It’s a very inefficient use of our very limited forest resources. We could be, and should be, doing a lot better. It’s time for the government to show real leadership on this issue, before it gets any further out of hand.”