Hello friends and supporters
Thanks for the membership renewals (click here is you still need to) and donations that supporters have been sending through for our court cases.
The first case will be heard on 30th October in the Supreme Court.
Has anyone sent a donation and not received a tax rct yet? We are receiving direct deposits into our account and some we can’t identify. Please email us if you do pay this way.
Two in particular we are still unable to track are referenced “SOMB” and a payment from Vic Teachers MB. These were credited to our account on the 1st and 8th of July.
In this bulletin:
- One stop chop
- Trees as carbon credit generators
- Log trucks cut by half
- News on the biggest threat to forests – BIOMASS
- Hopeful news on biomass
- Rudds new trading scheme – wildlife to suffer
- Clean Energy Council hijacked.
- Take Action
- Aust-Indonesia carbon project abandoned
- Plantations burnt
- Koalas shredded
- Quit Coal rally
“One Stop Chop” legal report released
This week a damning legal report titled “One Stop Chop” has been released. It takes a look at the states’ forest management over the last 15 years of open slather forest annihilation, under the supposed ‘balanced’ deal called the Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs).
At a time when the big end of town (developers, miners etc) is lobbying the federal govt to put all environmental powers into the hands of the states – this assessment of the RFAs shows the state governments simply can’t be trusted.
The RFAs urgently need to be abandoned as legally void agreements, and a new model for forest care and management drawn up.
EEG along with two other groups commissioned this report from the Environment Defenders Offices. Felicity Millner, Principal Solicitor with the Victorian EDO has written to the Federal Government informing them that if they fail to fulfil their international environmental obligations, legal options will be further investigated.
From the start (1997), the states have dishonoured and breached the RFAs, at great cost to Australia’s wildlife and forests.
“One Stop Chop:…” is a detailed legal review of the RFAs. A summary (PDF) is here or a full copy (PDF) can be downloaded from www.edovic.org.au/blog/RFA-report.
Or read more here: www.eastgippsland.net.au
Read the Guardian article or the online ABC opinion piece here.
Trees as carbon credit generators – $222 million gain vs $60 million loss
The Australia Institute recently released its investigation into carbon credits vs logging profits.
Basically it proves that if the native forests of SE NSW (East Gippsland’s mirror image environmentally and politically) continue to be logged for woodchips (and a bit of sawn wood), the industry and taxpayers will lose millions. If the forests are used for carbon credits, they are likely to return a huge profit for the government and community (but not the woodchippers).
You can read more in The Conversation or below are the key summary points. Professor Andrew Macintosh at the ANU did the sums.
He said the most commonly overlooked sources of carbon abatement is native forests, which is currently excluded from the carbon pricing scheme and the government’s offset scheme, the Carbon Farming Initiative. This is despite the fact that stopping the logging of public native forests is one of the cheapest ways to reduce Australia’s emissions.
For the past two decades, the native forest sector has been in decline due to pine competition, the global financial crisis and now our woodchips are less competitive on the world market.
All states that log native forests do so at a huge loss. For example, from 2009 to 2012, the NSW Forests Corporation made a total net loss before tax of$85 million, or $21 million per year.
Logging native forests now accounts for a mere 0.1% of Australian Gross Domestic Product.
The emergence of carbon markets offers an alternative use for native forests.
Read The Australia Institute’s report of the their financial analysis on the Southern Forestry Region of New South Wales here.
For the period 2014-2033, the Forestry Corporation of NSW and relevant hardwood processors were estimated to suffer losses of between A$40 million and A$77 million.
In contrast, stopping logging could generate 1.7 million carbon credits per year for the NSW Government over the same time, likely to provide net benefits of approximately A$222 million.
After recent changes to international accounting rules, stopping or reducing harvesting in native forests will now provide credits that can be used by the Australian government to meet its international mitigation commitments.
The federal government is expected to change carbon credit regs in the near future and ensure that state governments can benefit from not destroying forests.
Preserving native forests is no longer just for tree huggers. The time has come when leaving forests standing makes sense for purely financial reasons.
Log trucks down by half.
Trucks entering the Eden woodchipmill were recorded last week to compare load numbers with three years ago. GECO and Chipstop recorded a dramatic reduction, with many of the haulers who once carried native forest now carrying pine. No wonder the native forest logging empire is desperate to find a new buyer in electricity generators. ‘Only’ 75 trucks were counted carrying native forest logs.
News on the biggest threat to our forests … BIOMASS burners
As part of that rotten Tassie forest agreement, $2.8 million was generously handed to a forest liquidating project run by Dorset Renewable Energies as part of the regional development package. This is a very dangerous foot-in-the-door for all our forests!
(Where are the green group signatories to the Tassie deal who so vehemently opposed any biomass projects being part of the deal? They’re busy supporting the resuscitation of the almost dead Tasmanian logging and woodchipping industry).
This project includes a substantial bio-ethanol component that will use native forest 'residue'.
Read more at www.eastgippsland.net.au and theconversation.com
But some hopeful news on biomass
Recently, a US Federal Court ruled in favour of Dogwood, NRDC, and others who filed a lawsuit to challenging the US EPA's authority to exempt biomass from carbon regulations under the Clean Air Act. This has thrown a terrier among the rats.
Also, wood pellet manufacturers have been complaining about how difficult it is to get financing because banks are worried about investing in a market that is so dependent on uncertain government subsidies and policy on carbon polluting ventures.
Wildlife suffer again under Rudd’s new carbon trading scheme
The new carbon trading scheme will endanger wildlife and the environment. Why? To find the $4 billion revenue that the carbon tax/price would have brought in for the government, they now have to find savings elsewhere. The promised funding for biodiversity (that the Greens managed to secure) has got the cop! Read more here
‘Clean Energy Council’ hijacked
The Clean Energy Council (a peak body representing the clean energy sector) has been hijacked by the logging industry. Their policy now supports burning logged native forest trees to generate electricity and liquefying into biofuels.
But in late July, Markets For Change and other groups attended a Brisbane conference to hand out info. They let the attendees know that the inclusion of biomass will taint the name of genuine clean energy businesses by allowing forest destruction to be on a par with solar power. The vast majority of members of the Clean Energy Council are wind and solar power companies who are genuinely renewable.
Native forest biomass is the new woodchipping and members were asked to insist the CEC overturns the inclusion of burning native forests as ‘clean and renewable’.
A rough calculation of emissions from logging to supply Nippon's Eden chipmill (not including associated transport and other emissions) suggests they were around 3% of total Australian annual emissions before the GFC - i.e. on a par with the Hazelwood brown coal power station! If they ever get biomass up as the new income stream to replace the collapsing export woodchips it certainly won't be clean energy. But will governments concoct a corrupt excuse, exclusion or invent new arithmetic or definitions to cover for the loss of stored carbon and creation of greenhouse gasses from cutting down and burning forests? The question remains open …
If you want to take action to protect our precious forests, wildlife, water, climate and the air we breathe, you can send a message to our power companies by signing this http://www.nativeforests.good.do/
Australian-Indonesian carbon project abandoned
Australia has effectively killed the last of its vaunted on-the-ground projects in Indonesia to restore and protect forests and peatland for the carbon dioxide they store.
In a small note on the AusAid website, the Commonwealth government confirmed a $47 million project to restore 25,000 hectares of peatland on the island of Kalimantan will end before most of its major milestones are met. The Kalimantan project was first launched with great fanfare in 2007.
It is the second Indonesia peatland and forest project to be cancelled. A second $30 million project on the island of Sumatra was dropped before any on-ground work had begun. Read more here.
Plantations bulldozed and burnt
This is so insane it seems it can't be real; while primary native forests are bulldozed and burnt over in East Gippsland (at our expense), the blue gum MIS plantations from western Vic (put in at our expense) are being bulldozed and burnt - because there's no market for their wood! About 2.5 million acres of farmland were ripped up to put bluegums in; 61,000 investors were ripped off; farmers were ripped off; tax payers were ripped off; it's the largest class action seen in the Supreme Court as investors try to get back their dough.
But it gets worse! While our own native forests are ripped down to turn into woodchips, these plantations are bulldozed and burnt as useless, because the government won't subsidise the transport of these trees to the paper mills and woodchip ports! This would ease the pressure on native forests. Have a look at this 7 minute 7:30 Report clip
Koala's put through shredders!
As well as the above story about the massive areas of blue gums being bulldozed and burnt due to the MIS failure – this 7:30 Report shows that many of these plantations are now the homes of many habitat-stressed koalas. But in the plantations that are used for wood pulp, hundreds of koalas are being killed and suffering from horrific injuries and left to slowly die. A plantation harvesting operation is so mechanised and cost-efficient, it has no time to look for and avoid koalas in trees. The images in this ABC report are pretty distressing.
If you’d like to help, please sign this petition to the plantation manager:
Quit Coal rally – 18th August – City Square
You can support Victorian farmers and communties against the expansion of the coal and gas industries in Victoria! On Sunday the 18th of August farmers and their supporters will meet at 1pm at City Square, corner of Swanston and Collins Sts. The event will be MC'd by comedian Rod Quantok and other entertainment, displays and presentations will make the day fun as well as send a huge message to the government.
Contact for more info firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The EEG AGM is being held Saturday 7th Sept in the morning.
Please get in touch for further details – firstname.lastname@example.org
If you like what we do, or if you feel outraged and want to help somehow, EEG provides the most enviro-bang for your buck – and we work 7 days a week – no holiday pay, no office rent, power bills, wages or overheads. Donate here
Jill and the team.
Environment East Gippsland Inc.
FORESTS - our breathing space!