An alarming email today tells me the biomass furnace at Port Hawkesbury Paper and run by NS Power has been operating at full blast 24/7 for months. This is in spite of what Premier Stephen McNeil told us just a few months ago. This was even while the mill itself was closed for two of the last four weeks due to lack of sales for glossy paper.
The softwood biomass in Cape Breton is nearly exhausted and they are now gearing up to mass cut old growth hardwood at a very, very low stumpage cost to PHP – maples, beech and birch. They will chip that and truck those chips to Irving at Sussex and Saint John, N.B. The empty trailers will load softwood sawdust and shavings and haul that back to Port Hawkesbury at Nova Scotia taxpayer expense.
They will cut 100-plus-year-old sugar maples that could be tapped every spring to make maple syrup, which can be exported. The carbon credits from those same trees can be auctioned off once a year at about $ 19 per tonne of carbon absorbed.
Read more: LETTER: Cutting old growth for biomass furnace (The News, Jan 23, 2018)
It’s worth reiterating that there is a big difference between burning wood wastes from sawmills (“secondary forest biomass”) which is “carbon neutral” or close to it and reduces emissions compared to coal, but the same does not apply to “primary forest biomass”, e.g. when logs from a clearcut are sorted and the smaller logs are chipped to be burned while the larger logs go to a sawmill, or when all logs (or whole trees) from a clearcut are chipped and burned. View Natural Resources Canada GHG Calculator confirms Nova Scotia forest bioenergy schemes are worse than coal (Post Jan 3, 2017)
In 2016, Nova Scotia Energy Minister Michel Samson said that new rules around biomass production in Nova Scotia would “significantly reduce the amount of primary forest products being used at that facility”. View New biomass regulations in N.S. will reduce trees being cut (CTV April 9, 2016).
Thx to MP for the CTV item