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Volume 1, 1997, http://naturalscience.com/ns/articles/01-mis/ns_mis03.html
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SIERRA LEGAL DEFENCE FUND

For immediate release

GREENPEACE IS RIGHT:

GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS SUBSTANTIATE ENVIRONMENTALISTS’ CONCERNS ABOUT PROBLEMS IN B.C.’S FORESTS

Government Response to Greenpeace’s Broken Promises Report is “a piece of garbage” according to the Ministry of Environment

July 28th, 1997


Victoria, B.C.—Government documents released today substantiate the information contained within Broken Promises: The Truth About What’s Happening to B.C.’s Forests, a report released by Greenpeace on April 21, 1997. The report first prompted Premier Glen Clark to call environmentalists “enemies of B.C.” who are engaging in a “misinformation campaign”.

The documents obtained by the Sierra Legal Defence Fund through a Freedom of Information Request reveal that “Greenpeace’s report was prepared based largely on, or interpreted from, forest industry and government data including Freedom of Information Requests...It would be difficult to attempt to discredit the report because of the source of so much of the data upon which it is based.”

Broken Promises chronicles a series of commitments made by the B.C. Government concerning our new “world class” logging and then contrasted these claims with recent government data to show the reality of what’s happening in B.C.’s forests. The report demonstrated that:

  • 92% of the logging done in B.C. is still clearcutting (97% in the Coastal Rainforest)

  • 83% of streams, including some salmon streams, are still being logged right up to the stream banks

  • None of the Code’s measures for protecting wildlife or endangered species have been implemented

  • Clearcut logging continues on steep, unstable slopes despite the high risks of landslides

  • The Code is not being enforced - no charges have been laid for environmental infractions although the Code has been law for over two years

  • Despite government promises, the rate of logging in British Columbia has fallen by less than 1% from 1991 to 1996

  • Shortly after the release of Broken Promises, the Ministry of Forests released the government’s official response entitled “Forest Management Facts vs. Greenpeace Claims”. One of the documents obtained by SLDF through Freedom of Information provides the Ministry of Environment’s assessment of the official government response stating that it is “a piece of garbage”.

    “We’ve been exposing the gap between rhetoric and reality for months and now the Ministry of Environment has confirmed our assessment,” said David Boyd, Managing Director of the Sierra Legal Defence Fund. “It’s time to close the loopholes in the Forest Practices Code and start enforcing the law.”

    “Glen Clark decided to go on a mudslinging campaign rather than deal with the fact that clearcutting continues, streams continue to be destroyed and that species that depend on old growth forests are being placed at risk of extinction,” said Tamara Stark, Forest Campaigner for Greenpeace. “Accusing environmentalists of being ‘enemies of B.C.’ is absurd, and only serves to incite violence and deflect attention from the real issues.”

    “The release of these documents gives Glen Clark a second chance. Instead of attacking environmentalists he should acknowledge these problems and make a commitment to finding constructive solutions,” said David Boyd, Managing Director of Sierra Legal Defence Fund. “We are simply seeking the world class standards that have been promised.”

    For more information, please contact:
    David R. Boyd, Managing Director, Sierra Legal Defence Fund: 604-685-5618
    Tamara Stark, Forest Campaigner, Greenpeace: 604-313-0159 (cell phone)
    Gavin Edwards, Greenpeace: 604-253-7701


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