Australia to Reverse Ban on Native Forest Incineration
- by Jenny Weber, Huon Valley Environment Centre
Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) state government has announced plans to allow native forests to be logged and burnt for electricity generation. Removing a ban on burning native forest wood for electricity would give a green light for the construction of electricity plants powered by native forests, proposals that attempt to prop up the collapsing export wood chipping market.
The NSW Government has opened a submission period through the Environment Protection Authority for comment on this plan to amend the regulation that currently prohibits use of native forests for bio-energy. The Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2009 currently prohibits the use of “native forest bio-materials” to generate electricity.
The O’Farrell government is proposing to amend this regulation to enable the following vegetation on public or private land to be burnt for electricity generation: areas approved for logging for pulp products; vegetation that has been approved for clearing; offcuts and ‘waste’ from the timber industry.
This amendment would increase logging and devastate NSW’s remaining native forests. Far-reaching damaging impacts on native wildlife survival, the health of communities and the state’s carbon emissions are likely consequences of the logging industry based in burning native forests for bio-energy.