Stop destroying Nova Scotia's forests for biomass power generation

Stop destroying Nova Scotia's forests for biomass power generation

February 22, 2016
Petition to
Premier Stephen McNeil (Premier of Nova Scotia) and 3 others
Petition Closed
This petition had 30,565 supporters

Why this petition matters

Started by Helga Guderley

Nova Scotia’s forests are rapidly disappearing.  In recent years, more and more forests are being chipped to feed biomass furnaces for electricity generation, thereby mutilating our landscapes and reducing shelter and food resources for wildlife.  Is this destruction of Nova Scotia’s forest ecosystems the kind of “green energy” we want ? 

Every day, 50-60 truckloads of wood are hauled to the Point Tupper biomass boiler to produce electricity at an efficiency of merely 21.5 %.  Yet, at a recent meeting to plan the Canadian Carbon Cutting strategy, Environment Minister Miller announced that Nova Scotia is “greener than the rest”, leading Canadian provinces in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Nova Scotia Power now obtains 26.6% of its power from renewable sources, like hydro, tidal and wind (but this includes 2.8% from forest biomass).  Nova Scotia will soon benefit from the link with the Muskrat Falls Hydro project.  Why then should we level our forests for biomass power generation?  Why should Nova Scotia Power increase its reliance on forest biomass for electricity generation from 2.8 to 7% by 2020? 

Current levels of biomass harvesting have transformed former forests into bleak, apocalyptic landscapes.  Imagine more than doubling this impact annually. In light of the arguments provided below, Nova Scotia's current ‘green energy’ legislation must be amended.  Courageous action to reverse energy policy mistakes from previous governments would show outstanding, forward thinking.  

 Therefore, given that:

1. Clear-cutting forests for electricity generation is the lowest end use of our forest resources.  This prevents diversification of the forest economy with more eco-friendly and value-added industries (e.g., selective logging, fishing, hunting and tourism).

 2. Clear cutting for biomass energy production is harmful to wildlife, wildlife habitat, water cycles, soil nutrients, carbon storage and the chemistry of nearby waterways. The map of forest loss at this link (<iframe width="400" height="400" src="" style="border: 1px solid #ccc"></iframe>) reveals the extensive clear-cut activity in Nova Scotia since the Point Tupper biomass plant became operational.

 3. The Nova Scotia Power biomass boiler relies overwhelmingly on primary harvesting – trees clear-cut and chipped solely for power generation. Its “must run” status is due to the need for steam at the Port Hawkesbury Paper mill, not because it is sustainable. Biomass energy derived from primary harvesting increases carbon emissions for many decades, unthinkable at a time when humans need to reduce their carbon footprint.

 4. Clear-cutting for biomass energy was a factor in the demise of Finewood Flooring in Cape Breton and Riversbend Flooring in Antigonish.

 5.  Scarcity of firewood due to increased biomass harvesting is increasing the cost of wood for home heating, impacting energy security for rural Nova Scotians.

 6.  The power produced by the Point Tupper biomass boiler costs ratepayers an extra  $6-8 million annually.

Please send a clear message to Nova Scotia’s government to stop using forest biomass for power generation by signing this petition.

Please write to Premier McNeil and the provincial Ministers of Environment, Energy and Natural Resources to support this request.                           

                                Addresses for the Premier and Ministers

Honourable Stephen McNeil                                      

Honourable Michel P. Samson          


Honourable Lloyd Hines                                              

Honourable Margaret Miller                                  

Petition Closed

This petition had 30,565 supporters

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Decision Makers

  • Premier Stephen McNeilPremier of Nova Scotia
  • Minister Margaret MillerMinister of the Department of Environment
  • Minister Lloyd HinesMinister of the Department of Natural Resources
  • Minister Michel SamsonMinister of the Department of Energy