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Greenpeace says U.S. logging company has broken landmark boreal forest agreement


In a statement Greenpeace has retracted its allegations that Resolute Forest Products was logging in critical caribou habitat. Here’s the statement in fulll:

“On 6 December 2012, Greenpeace Canada made statements regarding Resolute Forest Products which incorrectly stated that Resolute had breached the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement by approving and developing roads in “areas of suspended harvest” and that Resolute was secretly engaged in logging, contrary to the terms of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. These statements were repeated and republished in subsequent publications.

“Greenpeace has learned that the above-mentioned statements are incorrect and has removed any reference to the statements from all its materials. Greenpeace sincerely regrets its error.

“Greenpeace has a 40 year history of campaigns based in the best available science and research and takes this issue very seriously.

“Greenpeace Canada will continue to campaign for the protection of the Boreal Forest and advocate for solutions that benefit the forest, communities and workers.”

Active road building in off-limits intact forest 	in FMU 24-51. GPS N 50°11.96, N 71°39.38. Photo by: © François Pesant/Greenpeace.
Active road building in off-limits intact forest in FMU 24-51. GPS N 50°11.96, N 71°39.38. Photo by: © François Pesant/Greenpeace.

When a long-fought peace was reached between nine environmental groups and 20 logging companies in 2010 for the vast Canadian boreal forest, it was dubbed the “world’s largest conservation agreement.” However, now that agreement is being shaken. A dispute between Greenpeace and U.S. logging company, Resolute Forest Products, over alleged logging in critical caribou habitat has resulted in the activist group abandoning the agreement.

“When the biggest logging company in the Boreal Forest goes back on its word to stay out of critical habitat, it signals the Agreement has broken down,” Stephanie Goodwin, Greenpeace Canada forest coordinator, said in a statement.

According to Greenpeace it uncovered evidence that Resolute Forest Products, formerly AbitibiBowater, has been cutting logging roads in five sites in the northern parts of the Saguenay Lac St-Jean region of Quebec. The area in question was marked as off-limits for the time being to logging as it was being assessed for protection down the road.

However, Resolute Forest Products denies any wrong-doing.

“Resolute continues to respect the [Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement] in its entirety and allegations to the contrary are simply unfounded,” spokesperson Seth Kursman told the Globe and the Mail.

Under the 2010 agreement, loggers pledged to suspend any new logging in 29 million hectares of forest for three years until final conservation plans could be approved. The off-limits areas covered about 40 percent of total forest in question. In exchange environmental groups, including Greenpeace, agreed to no longer stage protests and campaigns against the 20 logging companies. But by announcing its exit from the agreement, it’s safe to say that Greenpeace will begin campaigning again in earnest.

“Greenpeace’s number one priority continues to be a healthy Boreal Forest that supports viable economies and communities,” Goodwin added. “With the Boreal Forest under threat, the only responsible decision for Greenpeace Canada is to pursue other pathways to obtain results in the forest.”

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