Friday, March 4, 2011

Wilderness Society bewildering support for Gunns alienating Greens, anti-mill groups

.........."Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke yesterday gave the company a week's extension on final environmental approvals for the mill in the Tamar Valley outside Launceston after Gunns said it would legally bind itself to improved effluent standards and to use only timber from plantations. These are key demands of The Wilderness Society and other environment groups, whose support Gunns needs if it is to obtain the Forest Stewardship Council certification demanded by investors. In return for the green groups' endorsement of the mill and government compensation, Gunns is willing to surrender its contract rights to 220,000 cubic metres of native forest sawlogs a year. This would underwrite a final peace deal in Tasmania's forests, ending 30 years of conflict, by freeing up enough native timber to sustain the existing sawmills while protecting an extra 600,000ha of forests..........TWS, Environment Tasmania and the Australian Conservation Foundation welcomed the Gunns pledge to improve effluent standards and promised to support them if the details released next week matched the commitment..........However, The Australian has learned that in meetings with Gunns, mill opponents have suggested ways of rebuilding community trust, including holding public hearings on areas of concern and agreeing to a strong independent monitoring body to track mill operations". Read More here

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