Letters, Op-eds and news items May 1-5, 2018

On clearcutting, The Mill, biomass and carbon emissions, and politicans tripping over themseleves on environmental issues

There has been a steady stream of letters, op-eds, news items related to forests and forestry over the past week.

It’s hard to keep up with sometimes, but Mike Parker covers most of it in his Woods and Waters Nova Scotia (Facebook) posts, so I regularly check those out to see what I might have missed. Mike also mediates a civilized discussion of his posts, often newsy in themselves.

Here are some Letters, Op-eds and news items from the past week, for the record.

On Contradictions

VIBERT: Premier supports marine protection, elsewhere (Chronicle Herald, May 5, 2018) Jim Vibert notes the inconsistencies in government stances when it comes to environmental issues, being all for the environment, except when doing so affects our bottom line.

An excerpt:

We want to flip an environmentally-friendly switch and live healthy, wealthy lives on a planet-saving green income, but the cold, harsh realities keep getting in the way. You can’t eat your cake and have it, too.

Take clearcutting, please. The province assigned Nova Scotia’s resident environmental-economic realist, Bill Lahey, the near-impossible task of coming up with a forest policy that’s acceptable to both the industry and people appalled by the scorched-earth left behind by clearcuts.

Even the assiduous president of the University of King’s College needed to ask for a deadline extension on that paper and, while he’s as good as we’ve got, Lahey won’t be able to make both sides happy because it can’t be done.

Mike Parker noted the Premier’s concern about proposed Marine Protected Areas negatively affecting the lobster fishery…(‘Concern and confusion’: Premier slams logic behind marine protected area choices, by Jean Laroche for CBC News, May 04, 2018). Says MP on Woods and Waters Nova Scotia,: “[The Premier better] Remember that when it comes to NP pumping effluent into the Northumberland Strait.

Clearcutting continues to shock

Residents want more notice of clearcutting from province
Ian Fairclough for the Chronicle Herald, May 4, 2018

Residents near a proposed 260-hectare area of clearcutting in Shelburne County say the province needs to do more to let property owners know when forestry operations are making such applications.

Shelly Hipson lives about a kilometre from one of the areas to be cut…Hipson said no one in the area knew anything about the application until it was spotted and post- ed on a Facebook site on March 28, just a few days before the period for public comments ended.

The article goes on to quote the usual all-is-ok response from DNR spokesman Bruce Nunn.

The Mill

Clean up the Pictou County Pulp Mill (Facebook group) gets letter from the Feds dated May 3, 2018 (Responding to a letter of Dec 13, 2017) indicating they are looking at the applicability of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012 to the Northern Pulp Effluent Treatment Facility Replacement Project and are seeking input from other government departments and indigenous groups…

On Biomass and Carbon emissions

Biomass blows green cred
Raymond Plourde, wilderness co-ordinator, Ecology Action Centre in Voice of the People May 4, 2018

Re: “New Emera CEO to take company from coal to clean” (April 25 story). Nova Scotia Power and its parent company, Emera, have been crowing very loudly lately about their growing use of “renewables.” But there’s a big black eye on that otherwise sunny record: Biomass.

If Scott Balfour is serious about greening the company, then he needs to direct the immediate closure of the Nova Scotia Power biomass plants in Port Hawkesbury and Liverpool because they are a) very dirty in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and b) driving the clearcutting of our forests to desperate new lows. To be clear, there is nothing green about burning our forests for electricity. Turn them off, Mr. Balfour. Then you’ll really have something to crow about.

OPINION: From offshore to biomass, when will we walk the climate walk?
Op-ed by Helga Guderley, Chronicle Herald, May 1, 2018

We live in an age of contradictions…Our governments seem to recognize the direct link between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. While stating they favour renewable energy systems and increasing energy efficiency, the government’s decision to promote drilling for oil on the Scotian Shelf would increase our dependence on fossil fuels, their inclusion of biomass as a “green” source of electricity worsens our environmental performance and the ineffectual and ill-defined cap and trade program does little to improve our carbon balance.

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