No future in forest furnaces

27/ October/2010 - Independent Forest activists painted a 20 meter slogan reading “No Future In Forest Furnaces” on prominent Hobart southern outlet Water tower.

Activists are responding to the industry push for investment into Woodfired power development during recently announced forest negotiations. We see this as a provocative and very unhelpful move by
forestry interests to cling to a dying woodchip industry, dragging down Tasmania’s native forests with them.

There are currently three proposals for wood-fired power stations in Tasmania: at the Southwood facility in the Huon Valley, at Circular Head in the North-West of the state and at Gunns planned pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. Combined, these power stations would consume many hundreds of thousands of tonnes of timber from Tasmania’s high conservation value native forests if they were to be allowed to use native forests.

The Industry claims these proposed forest furnaces would produce ‘green’ and ‘renewable’ energy where in reality committing to Bio fuel development would be a dangerous step seeing a range of destructive practices concerning both Tasmania’s native and HCV forests and local communities.

Top American Health organisations have called for a ban on new woodfired power stations due to public health risks of particulates and other pollution. Yet the Tasmanian government and Forest industry continue to talk up such archaic practices as a modern new move for the ‘new’ forest industry.

We Urge the forest industry and the broader community to consider the long term social and environmental repercussions of committing to Bio-Fuel forest furnaces in Tasmanian communities.

Burning our native forests for electricity would produce similar amounts of carbon as burning coal as well as destroying threatened species habitat and valuable carbon sinks. We need to act now to halt
such proposals and move towards a real renewable future with investment into legitimate renewable energy such as wind and solar.