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Action Alert: Final Push Needed to Stop Australia's Ancient Forest Pulp Mill

Gunns of Australia's controversial plans to build a huge pulp mill to make disposable consumer items largely from clearfelling ancients forests is close to failing, let us together make a final decisive push to warn off potential investors and environmental approvals and achieve its permanent withdrawal

By Climate Ark, a project of EcoInternet - August 30, 2008

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Additional Background

UPDATE: Note the environmental deadline has been extended from October 4 2008 to January 5 2009. Gunns will have until January 5 2009 to complete the Environmental Impact Management Plan (EIMP) for its proposed pulp mill. We are continuing the protest to express dissatisfaction with this decision

Plans by Australian woodchip giant Gunns Ltd., to continue clearcutting of Tasmania's ancient forests to feed a massive new paper pulp mill, appear to be near final collapse. Gunns is scrambling to raise the cash needed to build the AU$2 billion pulp mill and to meet a looming federal government environmental approval deadline. Chief executive of Leighton Holdings, the proposed builder of the mill, has even stated the project is dead. The already extended deadline for federal environmental approval is Oct. 4th, and only four of 16 modules have been approved. Major unresolved issues include outrageous marine dumping of toxic effluent directly into Bass Straight.

With Australia's ANZ bank having rejected funding of the pulp mill, a joint venture appears Gunns' only real option to raise enough money to build the mill. Gunns is seeking financing and partnership with European interests, and reportedly has approached Finish rivals Stora Enso and M-real, and Swedish pulp and paper giant Sodra, to seek finance for the mill. International investors being courted by Gunns should be concerned about the heavy dependence of the pulp mill on logging native forests, and decades of growing opposition to Gunns' forest destruction. Recent huge protest rallies, and repeated supportive international protest by Ecological Internet and others, have sent a clear message to companies considering supporting the carbon-polluting pulp mill -- it will not be allowed to proceed.
Tasmania has the tallest flowering plants on Earth, with trees reaching over 90 meters, and contains Australia's greatest tracts of temperate rainforest. Australia’s intact Eucalypt forests are extraordinarily carbon rich. Logging Tasmania's native forests emits massive amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. It is conservatively estimated that logging including native forest clearance required to feed the mill would add 2% to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to 2.3 million new cars on the road. This relatively easily avoided emission growth from deforestation would come as the Australian government implements costly new carbon markets, and preaches to foreign countries the need to protect forests to save the climate.

With Gunns' proposed pulp mill having no money, no supply or price certainty, no plan of action, and no final environmental approvals; the Tasmanian and Federal government must definitely and completely end this environmentally disastrous boondoggle. Join us below in supporting massive local protests, and calling upon Australia's Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett to not extend the environmental approval process, and for the above-mentioned European interests to steer clear of funding the project or risk years of protest and conflict. Let's ensure the Gunns pulp mill proposal is permanently withdrawn from consideration.

NOTE: There are two protest emails to send on this matter.

And secondly, given Environment Minister Peter Garrett is former front man of the rock band Midnight Oil, the alert refers to lyrics of his son -- thus the reference to "Whatever became of sacred in the forest?"

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ANZ finances climate change
Prime Minister Rudd and European financiers will be held responsible, as ANZ bank has been already, for continuing to allow ancient forest logging when they know it causes climate change  (link)

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