Stop destroying Nova Scotia's forests for biomass power generation

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="http://earthenginepartners.appspot.com/science-2013-global-forest?hl=en&llbox=81.7%2C-73%2C165.6%2C-162&t=ROADMAP&layers=layer0%2Clayer1%2C10%2Clayer9%2C6%2Clayer12&embedded=true" 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                                                premier@gov.ns.ca

Honourable Michel P. Samson                    ENERGYMINISTER@novascotia.ca

 

Honourable Lloyd Hines                                                        mindnr@gov.ns.ca

Honourable Margaret Miller                            Minister.Environment@gov.ns.ca                
 

This petition will be delivered to:
  • Premier of Nova Scotia
    Premier Stephen McNeil
  • Minister of the Department of Environment
    Minister Margaret Miller
  • Minister of the Department of Natural Resources
    Minister Lloyd Hines
  • Minister of the Department of Energy
    Minister Michel Samson

Helga Guderley started this petition with a single signature, and now has 29,447 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.