Submission to Eurobodalla Shire Council.
Amended Investment Policy Ref. No. EOO4623
Due date Wednesday 7th March 2018
Coastwatchers supports and endorses Council’s policy to exit investment in fossil fuel industries.
Coastwatchers urges all Councillors to vote for the Amended Investment Policy, to support “investing with financial institutions that do not invest in, or finance the fossil fuel industry”.
We recognise that it is not desirable to delay this decision, however, we are growing increasingly concerned about logging industry proposals under new long term Regional Forestry Agreements to use native forests for feedstock to power stations and domestic heating, euphemistically described as biomass for renewable (clean) energy.
Even if these plans do not succeed domestically, it is clear that they are seeking export markets for these products, principally in China and South East Asia. Such use of native forest wood can only lead to an entrenched regime of intensive logging and clear felling made possible with the further reduction of environmental controls on logging and land clearing, clearly established in the new 2017 NSW land clearing legislation and proposed for revised operational agreements on logging of native forests under the control of NSW State Forests.
Such forestry has devastating impacts on native animals, plants and overall biodiversity, clean water supply and soil conservation as well as a major contribution to greenhouse gas through the removal of carbon stored in mature forests for hundreds of years , most to end up in landfill within a few years, the post logging burning and the greatly increased risk of bushfires from post logging burn escape, accumulated logging “waste” on the forest floor and the drying out of forests with the severe disturbance to canopy cover. All in the face of accelerating climate change.
The lack of public and industry demand for use of native forest hardwoods for high value and value added products is clearly shown by recent disclosure through State Parliament that over the past decade the allocation of wood taken from State Forests in the South Coast Forestry Region for commercial firewood alone has risen from less than 5% to 26%, principally for use in Sydney and Canberra. In broad, some 60% of wood taken from South Coast ForestryRegion also goes to the Eden Woodchip Mill for export to paper pulp mills. Essentially Eurobodalla’s forests and their biodiversity, carbon stores and climate cooling values are being destroyed for paper and domestic firewood, with domestic or export use for power station feedstock (biomass) an ever growing threat.
Whether implemented domestically or for export, native forest biomass would directly undermine the concept of genuine clean energy and provide direct competition with solar, wind, hydro and tidal power. Given present Federal Government and NSW Government policies and changes to the definition of clean energy under the Renewable Energy Target, we would expect that these genuine forms of clean, renewable energy would have to compete for development funds with a heavily subsidised native forest logging industry.
Accordingly, we suggest that Council add the words “and the use of native forest wood for energy production or commercial firewood.” to its Amended Investment Policy. If it is not feasible to amend the present proposal before Council, we would suggest Council give separate consideration to a later amendment dealing with the use of biomass from native forests.
The passing of this amendment including reference to native forests would signal to the community Council’s continuing commitment to reduce greenhouse emissions and conserve nature as demonstrated in installing solar power and LED lights throughout council’s properties and its pro-active work on protecting and conserving native bushland and forests under its ownership or planning control. A positive move for the environment.
The Coastwatchers Association Inc. ABN 66 003 550 939
PO Box 521 Email: email@example.com
Batemans Bay NSW 2536 Home Page: www.coastwatchers.org.au