New Brunswick’s forestry contract with J.D. Irving goes too far: CCNB

coverclearcutFredericton — Behind closed doors, the government of New Brunswick has agreed to the request of one company to dramatically rewrite the rules that protect our public forests, argues the Conservation Council of New Brunswick (CCNB). Additionally, it has set aside almost two thirds of increased access to timber on Crown land, a publicly owned resource, to J.D. Irving alone, as long as that increased cut allowance also increases the company’s bottom line.

According to the Memorandum of Agreement sent to CCNB today:

• The Minister of Natural Resources agrees to set a new “outcome-based forestry management system that will be drafted by July 1 and come into effect by September 1, 2014,”;

• The current forest management manual will be replaced by one “that aligns with the agreed outcome-based management system.”;

• The government has agreed to grant almost 2/3 thirds of its proposed increased timber harvest from Crown reserves to J.D. Irving; and,

• The contract stipulates Irving’s commitment to invest money in NB is “predicated on certainty of increased wood supply, competitive wood costs and reduced costs.”

“It’s a win win for one company,” says Tracy Glynn, CCNB’s Forest Campaigner. “J.D. Irving got a back room commitment from the government, signed by the Minister, to increase the supply, based on its own bottom line, and rewrite the rules that currently protect wildlife habitat, rivers and patches of old forest.”

“This is a huge mistake in government policy setting with respect to our public forests. It harms other users of our forest like maple syrup producers, hunters, anglers, hikers and and tourism operators, not to mention other forest industry players by virtually granting away a public resource to one company. It does not offer job guarantees, in fact, this is a worker’s worst nightmare – it actually talks about increased productivity at less expense,” argues Glynn.

With this Memorandum of Agreement, the Minister of Natural Resources has agreed to re-write the forest management manual, and get this done before September 1, 2014. “That could very well set a record for caving into one company’s demands and rolling back environmental protection requirements. I have to confess I do not understand how the Minister and the company think they can, or should, do this behind closed doors, when it’s the people’s forest and the policies of the province that they are dealing away,” says Glynn.

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Tracy Glynn, 458-8747

About Tracy Glynn