Nova Scotia

Clearcutting strategy rules delayed

A Nova Scotia environmental group says the clearcutting strategy has been a "colossal waste of time" as the province missed another deadline to implement reforms.

A Nova Scotia environmental group says the clearcutting strategy has been a "colossal waste of time" as the province missed another deadline to implement reforms.

In August, the Department of Natural Resources announced a five-year plan to limit clearcutting in Nova Scotia's woodlands.

The plan promised to develop rules defining whole-tree harvesting within six months and carry out a harvest tracking system by types of tree and location.

Matt Miller, the forestry co-ordinator at the Ecology Action Centre, said the deadline for those rules passed two weeks ago.

"The strategy has bascially been a colossal waste of time. Certainly there has been no action, no regulatory reform over the last six months," he told CBC News on Wednesday.

"As far as harvesting practices go, we're still at the status quo before this startegy process even began."

At least one contractor in the Truro area — Hodgson's Chipping Ltd. — has already announced it will close, in part because of concerns over the new clearcutting rules.

The Nova Scotia government has also delayed a decision on how much wood can be cut for a new biomass plant that Nova Scotia Power plans to run in Point Tupper.

Charlie Parker, the Minister of Natural Resources, said the rules on clearcutting will be delayed by another two to three months.

"Within days of putting out our natural resources strategy we had the announcement around NewPage and news about Abitibi," he told reporters on Wednesday.

"A number of our people in the Department of Natural Resources were seconded to work on those files and still are."

Miller said he wants the government to live up to its promise to prohibit whole-tree harvesting — taking the tops and all scraps of the tree.

"In August when the strategy was released, we weren't really happy with the lack of detail, a lot of things had been pushed off to the future," he said.

"There was always a concern that whatever would come out of this would sit on a shelf."

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