NSW GOVERNMENT ALLOWS FORESTS TO BE BURNED FOR POWER
The government of New South Wales has cleared the way for the state’s forests to be used to generate electricity. Burning native vegetation to produce power had previously been banned, but new regulations would allow trees destined for pulp and paper production—as well as invasive native species and offcuts of sawlogs—to be burned in power stations. Proponents of the rules, including Maree Caskill, managing director of the NSW Forest Products Association, believe that the regulations actually promote cleaner forms of energy, as they would make use of a byproduct that currently goes to waste. Minister for Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts also made it clear that the regulations are intended to make use of already existing waste and should not lead to an increase in logging. The Environment Protection Authority, he said, would monitor the changes in order to ensure that “environmental values are not compromised.” The Greens Party, however, has called the legislation “devastating.” Some fear that the regulations could perpetuate the woodchip industry and expose new native species to logging, while executive director of the Total Environment Centre deemed the move an “attack on the environment.” For the full story, see http://www.smh.com.au/environment/devastating-changes-allow-forests-to-be-burned-for-power-20140307-34bd5.html.