The overseas woodchip market is slowing down, but our major exporter has other plans.
Even though it’s across the dotted line in NSW, the Nippon export woodchip mill at Eden (100% Japanese owned) is the monster that drives East Gippsland’s forest destruction. About 85% of the wood that is hauled out of East Gippsland goes to this mill and then via ship to paper factories overseas. Our forests help make up about a million tonnes a year that are exported from Eden.
Part I: Recently, the Nippon mill has been seeing a downwards trend in the world market for shredded trees and so has hatched another plan – to export small pieces of tree (extruded pellets) as fuel to burn for electricity generation.
BUT – thanks to the NSW group South East Forest Rescue (SEFR), a legal challenge was mounted and recently won! Congrats Lisa and Tony!
They prevented the operation of the already-built wood pellet factory at the chip mill. Bega Valley Shire Council gave a hasty OK for the building to start in June, and SEFR warned they would take legal action if it was to proceed. It did … and they did.
On 16 December 2011, a decision was handed down in a NSW court saying the approval to build the pellet factory was invalid. The shire didn’t take into account public submissions, the Ecologically Sustainable Development principle and the land zoning. This means that the chip mill must not operate the pellet factory. A significant win for our forests!
Part II: Bega Shire will have to look at this proposal again and PROPERLY consider all aspects of it. This is where you can help stick a spanner in the works.
In just a few clicks, send a cyber letter/ petition asking Bega Valley Shire Councillors not to approve a wood pellet plant at the Eden chipmill. It goes to all Councillors.
or else go via http://www.chipstop.savetheforests.org.au/forests_in_the_furnace.htm which gives more info.
There are just a few more weeks to stop this project. The local groups are also putting an ad in the newspaper to let locals know what’s brewing.
PS. An interesting item from WA this week might also help sink Nippon’s little ship.
It says that Australia’s biggest plantation-based biomass pellet plant in WA will close its doors. It tried for two years but the Albany-based export company, Plantation Energy Australia, said it was uneconomic. http://www.fridayoffcuts.com/index.cfm?id=4