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British Columbia Ancient Forests News
AFA Plans “Communities for Sustainable Forestry” Tour in Key BC Ridings in Bid to Stop Proposed Forest Privatization Plan and to Promote Old-Growth Protection, Sustainable Second-Growth Forestry, more
AFA Media Release, March 5, 2013
For Immediate Release
March 4, 2013
Ancient Forest Alliance Plans “Communities for Sustainable Forestry” Tour in Key BC Ridings in Bid to Stop Proposed Forest Privatization Plan and to Promote Old-Growth Protection, Sustainable Second-Growth Forestry, and an End to Raw Log Exports
Conservationists plan activism trainings, rallies at MLA offices, and door-to-door campaigns in key communities and provincial swing ridings.
The Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA) is planning a provincial tour to mobilize communities in key swing ridings in a bid to stop the BC government's anti-environmental forest policies, including old-growth logging, raw log exports, and the recent proposal to increase the privatization of public forest lands by expanding Tree Farm Licences for major companies, and to ensure that the incoming government adopts new, sustainable policies. The tour will begin immediately after the organization’s March 16 “Pre-Election Rally for Ancient Forests and BC Forestry Jobs” (see www.BCForestMovement.com ) in Victoria. During the tour from mid-March until the May 14 provincial election, AFA activists Ken Wu and TJ Watt will organize activism trainings, rallies at BC politician offices, and door canvassing campaigns in key electoral ridings.
The anti-environmental forest policies of the BC Liberal government include:
- The recently proposed bill to increase private property rights for corporations on public forest lands through the expansion of Tree Farm Licences where companies will get exclusive logging rights over vast areas. See: http://www.ancientforestalliance.org/news-item.php?ID=564
- The planned logging of previously off-limits old-growth forests in the Burns Lake region and potentially in other parts of the Central Interior to make up for a timber shortfall in relation to the overcapacity of the region’s mills due to decades of overcutting and the more recent pine beetle infestation.
- The BC Liberal government’s continued support of the large-scale liquidation of endangered old-growth forests.
- The continued export of millions of raw, unprocessed logs each year from the province to foreign mills while the government fails to support a value-added, second-growth forest industry.
“We need old forests, not old mindsets in this province. The BC Liberals have a chance to leave a positive legacy of ancient forest protection and a sustainable second-growth industry in this province before they leave power. Instead, they’re going the opposite way towards forest privatization and massive old-growth logging and raw log exports . If they don’t change course, this will be the legacy that they’ll be remembered for. Meanwhile, so far the NDP seems to be keeping their heads down, not bringing forward any new old-growth protection policies or a vision for sustainable forestry that is markedly different from the disastrous status quo. We’re hoping both parties will change their tunes very soon - we're willing to give credit where credit's due, and to dish out consequences where they're deserved,” stated Ken Wu, Ancient Forest Alliance executive director. “We’re aiming to change the current situation by undertaking a province-wide tour to help train and support local citizens, including conservationists, forestry workers, recreationists, First Nations, and anyone interested in a sustainable forest industry, to launch campaigns in their areas to spur BC’s politicians towards more sustainable policy positions.”
On February 20, the BC Liberal government introduced an omnibus bill, the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act or Bill 8, that includes a proposal to enable the massive increase of private property rights for major logging companies on BC’s public forest lands by empowering the Forest Minister to readily create new Tree Farm Licences (TFL’s) through policy fiat. See the AFA’s media release at: www.ancientforestalliance.org/news-item.php?ID=564
On Friday, Independent MLA Bob Simpson revealed that last September the BC government had already indicated their intent to create a new Tree Farm Licence for Hampton Affiliates as an incentive for the company to rebuild their Babine Forest Products mill in Burns Lake – months before the currently proposed bill, and which they have no right to do. See: www.bobsimpsonmla.ca/documents-show-government-is-already-breaking-proposed-forestry-law/ and also a “Myths and Facts” backgrounder by Simpson at: www.bobsimpsonmla.ca/rollover-legislation-claims-and-facts/
“This is a dangerous, undemocratic proposal that will give increased rights to the major logging corporations on public lands at the expense of local communities. Greater certainty through exclusive logging rights over huge areas for these companies will make it harder to protect forests for wildlife, recreation and scenery, and will entrench the overcutting already taking place at the expense of local communities,” stated TJ Watt, Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner.
The NDP opposition has so far stayed silent on a previous commitment by leader Adrian Dix in 2011 during his leadership bid that he would, “Develop a long term strategy for old growth forests in the Province, including protection of specific areas that are facing immediate logging plans” if elected. See: conservationvoters.ca/past-endorsements/leadership-race-2011/ndp-candidates/adrian-dix
The Ancient Forest Alliance is planning a major “Pre-Election Rally for Ancient Forests and BC Forestry Jobs” on Saturday, March 16 at 12 noon at the Legislative Buildings. Already about 1000 people have pre-confirmed their attendance for the rally, including over 700 on the website and almost 300 more via Facebook. See www.BCForestMovement.com
Old-growth forests are vital to sustain endangered species, the climate, tourism, clean water, wild salmon, and many First Nations cultures. On Vancouver about 75% of the original, productive old-growth forests have been logged, including 90% of the valley bottoms where the largest trees grow. About 10% of the original, productive old-growth forests have been protected in parks and in Old-Growth Management Areas on Vancouver Island.
The Ancient Forest Alliance is calling on BC’s politicians to commit to:
See spectacular old-growth forest photos at: www.ancientforestalliance.org/galleries.php
and videos at: www.ancientforestalliance.org/videos.php