FOREST FURNACE BID FAILS
Conservationists are breathing a sigh of relief at the defeat of a move to reintroduce renewable energy subsidies for burning native forest wood in Parliament today (Monday).
Independent MP, Rob Oakeshott unsuccessfully moved to overturn a Regulation which was part of the Government’s Carbon Tax package last year.
Chipstop spokesperson, Ms Harriett Swift said that forest campaigners around Australia have been campaigning hard against Mr Oakeshott’s motion.
“It was a close shave, with 72 votes on each side and the Speaker casting his vote against Mr Oakeshott’s motion,” she said.
“Subsidies for burning native forest wood would have opened the door to new and more destructive ways to make a profit from Australia’s native forest.
“The Eden woodchip mill, owned by Japan’s biggest paper manufacturer, Nippon Paper would have been first cab off the rank with a 5.5MW wood fired power station, but without the subsidy is a dead duck.”
Ms Swift said that the Eden project stalled when the prospect of subsidies fell through and the company was unable to provide answers to some crucial environmental questions on dioxin and other emissions.
“It is a great relief and a tribute to the hard work of conservationists around Australia who have worked so hard to stop this dreadful threat the forests,” she said.
“The woodchippers have been desperately looking to a future in energy production as a lifeline, as traditional markets for native forest woodchips are drying up.
“However, even well placed projects such as the Eden wood fired power station are not viable without renewable energy subsidies.
“The whole concept is founded on a misleading idea of ‘waste’.
“In NSW a living tree, growing in the forest can be classified as ‘waste’ and in the south east we have a million-tonne-a-year export woodchipping industry which is supposedly using only ‘waste’,” she said.
19 March 2012