New South Wales environmentalists protest outside MP's office against proposed changes that would allow biomass from native forests to be burned for electricity; Greens party argues it would become a driver of logging, put at risk koalas, other animals

MANLY, Australia , October 28, 2013 () – ENVIRONMENTAL activists protested outside Manly MP Mike Baird’s office yesterday against the burning of woodchips for electricity.

The State Government is considering changes that would allow “waste” from native forests to be burnt.

Greens MLC John Kaye said this waste would become a driver of logging. “The native forests of this state are about to be exposed to another layer of exploitation with devastating consequences for threatened koala populations and other animals,” he said.

He said the energy produced by burning woodchips was unsustainable and not climate friendly.

The protest was held outside the Treasurer’s office because Mr Baird would be an “important voice at the cabinet table when this plan is considered”, Mr Kaye said.

Mr Baird told the Manly Daily that he was aware of the concerns. “But there are no plans to increase logging in native forests,” he said. “I understand options are being looked at in relation to using the debris in forests and the EPA is involved so I will ensure the Environment Minister is aware of the petition.” The state government proposal would allow the burning of “biomass”, including woodchips, for electricity generation.About one in every 10 trees is considered biomass and turned into woodchips because of flaws in the wood that make it unsuitable to sell as timber planks.

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