February 08



29 February 2008 Forestry group Gunns Ltd said on Thursday its first-half profit fell 27.6 percent. Reuters

29 February 2008 Millions of dollars of forestry assistance was handed out in Tasmania without proper assessment under recommendations from a committee peppered with industry representatives, the audit office has found. Australian

27 February 2008 Forestry Tasmania denies it has signed away the state's chances of profiting from its forests by leaving trees standing as carbon stores to slow climate change. Mercury

25 February 2008 Geoffrey Cousins has called on the Rudd Government to suspend clearing approval for the Tasmanian pulp mill until its impact is examined by climate change adviser Ross Garnaut. The Age

23 February 2008 Paul Lennon has asked Professor Ross Garnaut to produce a report on how Tasmania's forests can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Premier said the Gunns pulp mill proposed for northern Tasmania, which initially will be heavily reliant on native forests and is yet to secure a final wood supply agreement, was not immune from the Garnaut process. Australian

23 February 2008 Lennon seeks advice on greenhouse action from Professor Ross Garnaut ABC

20 February 2008 A heated Hobart City Council committee meeting about Gunns' pulp mill eventually agreed to recommend the council provide details of an elector poll showing strong opposition to the pulp mill to the ANZ Bank, which is considering financing the Tamar Valley project. Read the Mercury

19 February 2008 ANU resources and environment professor David Lindenmayer said commercial harvest of old-growth forests could no longer be justified. Global pressure could force an end to logging in old-growth and regrowth forest as the world comes to grip with global warming and carbon trading. Read the Mercury

17 February 2008 Erkki Varis, Finnish Pulp Mill CEO to go on Trial in Criminal Complaint. On February 14th 2008 in Uruguay, hearings have begun in a criminal complaint against the Finnish pulp mill company Botnia, which according to Argentina, has built an illegal pulp mill on the Uruguay River, the natural border between Argentina and Uruguay. Go to www.cedha.org.ar

16 February 2008 Article on dioxins posted by The International POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) Elimination Network. Dioxins will play a part at the recently approved pulp mill in Tasmania and the scientific understandings about these toxic chemicals have been sidelined in the political process. Go to www.aqob.com.au

15 February 2008 A meeting of 290 potential sub-contractors for the pulp mill was told that Gunns has not reached financial closure. The ANZ Bank has yet to finish an independent technical review of the project and said the borrower must have an action plan which contains "mitigation measures, corrective actions and ongoing monitoring measures" to satisfy the bank's environmental commitments known as the Equator Principles. Last year, Gunns said it would cost $1 million a day if it did not begin work by August 1. Read more at the Mercury newspaper.

14 February 2008 Hobart City Council will request the Premier reconsider his government's position on clearfell logging as part of his commitment to reduce impact on global warming. All issues that made a difference should be looked at, including clearfelling and support of pulp mills. Read the Mercury

13 February 2008 Another Worker Dies at Botnia Mill in Uruguay. CEDHA reports on 9 February 2008 that the string of fatal accidents and severe injury at Botnia´s controversial pulp mill on the Argentine-Uruguayan border continues. Go to the Centre for Human Rights and the Environment

12 February 2008 The Wilderness Society is preparing to mobilise thousands of protesters and promised "generations of conflict" if Gunns Tamar Valley pulp mill goes ahead. Timber Communities Australia state manager Barry Chipman said it was disappointing the Wilderness Society could not accept the mill had been approved by a rigorous evaluation process. Go to the Mercury

The Demon In Democracy A new short documentary on the logging and woodchipping in the Yarra Valley, Victoria. It also relates to what's happening in Tasmania, however it does not take aim at the loggers themselves as they are slaves to banks and debt like everyone else. Go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=4W1_MXqUrZ8 12 February 2008

10 February 2008 The Secretary of the forestry union, Scott McLean has condemned plans for a blockade to halt construction of the Gunns pulp mill. Opponents have started holding training workshops to prepare people for peaceful protest and say it will be the biggest blockade since the Franklin River dam issue. Go to the ABC

9 February 2008 Opponents of the $2 billion pulp mill planned for Tasmania's Tamar Valley have begun formal training in peaceful protest and civil disobedience as Gunns moves to prepare the site for construction. Hundreds of locals are gearing up for mass protest at the Long Reach site, on the banks of the Tamar River about 37km north of Launceston. Tasmanians Against A Pulp Mill (TAP) have organised workshops offering formal training in peaceful community protest techniques. Read more at The Australian newspaper.

9 February 2008 Lawyers for Forests is concerned about the significant impact that the mill will have on the environment and that the decision to approve the mill complies with the law. Six legal grounds challenge the decision and all relate to the fact that the Minister approved the mill but attached conditions which require further scientific testing to determine the impact of the mill’s toxic effluent (dioxins and furans), which are the most toxic known to science. Go to http://www.lawyersforforests.asn.au for more information.

8 February 2008 Another accident at Finnish pulp mill in Uruguay burns Finnish worker. Botnia mutes communication to avoid bad press. Reports came in on 30 January of yet another serious accident involving the failure or its principal caldron, at the controversial mega pulp mill by Botnia, on the Uruguay-Argentine border. According to eye witnesses, the large caldron failed or exploded, severely burning a Finnish worker and causing the multi million dollar pulp mill to halt operations. Go to the Centre for Human Rights and Environment.

8 February 2008 Gunns executive chairman John Gay said "it will be two to three weeks before we start site clearing" for the pulp mill at Longreach. Mr Gay said he expected to organise a company board meeting in the next week to ten days to sign-off on the project. Go to the Examiner. (note: available to subscribers only)

4 February 2008 The latest legal bid to stop Gunns Ltd's Tamar Valley pulp mill could be over before it begins. Gunns is seeking an order for Lawyers for Forests to pay a "substantial" bond before the case can proceed in the Federal Court in Melbourne. Lawyers for Forests is a community organisation that relies on voluntary donations. The group wants the decision to approve the mill to be set aside because the minister approved the mill before relevant environmental studies had been completed. Go to the Mercury newspaper.

2 February 2008 Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has given Gunns the OK to clear vegetation to make way for its pulp mill. Opponents say Mr Garrett's decision shows his determination to ingratiate himself with the logging industry at the expense of the environment. Greens Senator Milne slammed the piecemeal approval process, warning it risked vegetation clearance for a project which may be rejected further down the line. Another 14 modules require federal approval before additional work can be undertaken including how the daily discharge of 64,000 tonnes of effluent will affect Bass Strait. Read the Mercury.

1 February 08 In New Zealand, field trials of genetically modified trees by Scion have been damaged by protesters or perhaps by rabbits with spades. In January 2008, someone got into Scion’s GE tree experiment site by digging under the fence. The protesters left a spade with a “GE Free New Zealand” sticker on it. The Soil and Health Association, a New Zealand NGO, has been campaigning for the GE tree trial to be stopped and the trees to be removed. Shortly before the trees were damaged, the Soil and Health Association put out a press release saying that Scion should take down its GE trees, pointing out that rabbits have burrowed under the fence surrounding the trial, creating the risk that GE plant material has been removed from the trial area. Go to chrislang.org

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