12 FEBRUARY 2014
Green Party leader David Coon is concerned that Premier David Alward's new forest plan will sacrifice water, wildlife and rural communities on the altar of money and power. "There is no way more wood can be clearcut from Crown land without running roughshod over the values and aspirations New Brunswickers hold dear," said Coon. "The Green Party wants to create the conditions to build an innovative and diverse forest industry that suits our forest and sustains our rural communities, but I fear the Alward plan will make that impossible," said Coon.
The Green Party leader was commenting on the imminent release of a new forest plan for Crown lands. The Alward government had released a new forest plan two years ago, but the Premier quietly shelved it in the face of opposition from the large forest companies. Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup, who had consulted widely on the plan, was shuffled off to the Department of Public Safety.
The Green Party leader is concerned the Tory government's new new forest plan will open up stream buffers and wildlife zones to clearcutting, while converting the rest of the forest to plantations in order to provide the largest mills in the province with guarantees of even more wood in the future. Further, he says it could permanently remove access by rural communities to forest resources, shutting down local independent mills and trampling economic opportunity.
"I am afraid David Alward intends to blow past the ecological and social limits to increasing the wood supply from Crown land, in the face of contrary advice from the experts in the Department of Natural Resources and without any consultation. If that's the case, there is no going back. The damage will be irreparable," said Coon.