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British energy company denies clearing BC ‘old-growth forest’ for wood pellets

Drax Group responds to BBC inquiry, saying forests are not being cut for biomass energy

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British energy company Drax Group is defending itself following the release of a BBC investigation alleging it is cutting down British Columbia’s ‘old-growth forest’ to turn it into wood pellets.

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A BBC program aired on Monday titled ‘Green energy scandal exposed’ said at least some of Drax’s pellets came from timber the company harvested through logging permits obtained from the state against its own policy. The practice of claiming to be manufactured and allowing pellets to be labeled as green energy.

After acquiring a local manufacturer, Drax became BC’s largest producer of wood pellets, owning or owning eight mills and accounting for nearly 80% of the province’s production.

Drax uses wood pellets from Canada, including Alberta, to power 15% of the fuel for a large biomass power plant in the UK. The power plant receives billions of dollars in environmental subsidies.

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The investigation focused on an area in the north central BC, where logs were found to be stored in pellet mill yards, including the Meadowbank mill near Quesnel and another near Burns Lake, it said. At the Burnslake Mill, logs are seen being fed into the chipper and sent to the mill. A BBC reporter also tracked a large amount of logs felled near Quesnel, which leads directly to the Meadowbank mill.

In a written response to the Postmedia, Drax officials said the company did not clear any forests and did not take material directly from the two areas surveyed by the BBC.

According to the company, 80% of the material used to make pellets in Canada comes from sawdust, wood chips, bark and other leftovers from sawmill wood production.

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The rest is waste collected from forests that are burned to reduce the risk of wildfires and disease, Drax said.

The company did not answer questions about whether logs were used to make pellets, what was the quality of those logs, and what percentage of the total logs contributed to the raw material for making pellets in B.C. rice field.

“Drax’s world-leading sustainable sourcing policy is aligned with the rigorous regulatory frameworks set by both the Canadian and UK governments, ensuring that our operations benefit nature, the climate and people. We guarantee it,” said a Drax official.

In a news release posted on Drax’s website, Drax said the BBC investigative team had Please do not contact the company to arrange to visit the facility while they are conducting research in Canada.Our lawyers wrote to the BBC to remind them about the laws and regulations obligation We are considering further measures,” the company said.

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In a written statement, the BC Department of Forestry said the state was following up with Drax to make sure it wasn’t using high-quality logs harvested from old growth forests, as the company said. I said that I am

It makes no economic sense for a pellet company to do so. Because historically, mills have paid up to $25 per cubic meter for fiber sourced from the remaining harvested pile, as opposed to $140 to $160 per cubic meter paid for the high-quality logs used. because you have paid Forest Department spokesman Nigel McInnis said it was needed to produce timber.

To get the most profit from each grade of log, McInnis said, sell or trade high-quality logs to sawmills willing to pay this high price.

According to state-provided figures from 2016 to 2020, poor quality logs accounted for 5% of the input to pellet mills, and more than 90% were sawdust and shavings, wood chips, and felled logs. It comes from discarded fibers removed from the area. .

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“Green” energy when using wood pellets to generate electricity, because throughout the forest’s growth cycle, the carbon released to generate electricity, or at least some of it, is recaptured by the final growing trees can be called .

But critics point out that while carbon is being emitted now, it will take decades for forests to grow back.

Ben Parfitt, a resource policy analyst at the Center for Policy Alternatives, interviewed on the BBC’s programme, said that at least Drax and the BC government have no control over the exact amount and quality of logs used in timber production. I said that the information should be made available to the public. pellet.

As wood supplies are dwindling and forests are under stress from climate change, either leaving wood that is pelleted uncut or storing carbon for longer to reach more people. There is a question of whether it is better to use it for solid wood products that work. ‘ said Parfitt.

ghoekstra@postmedia.com

twitter.com/gordon_hoekstra


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British energy company denies clearing BC ‘old-growth forest’ for wood pellets

Source link British energy company denies clearing BC ‘old-growth forest’ for wood pellets

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