Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Alberta Forest Industry Spanks the Feds Over Mountain Pine Beetle Funding

The Alberta Forest Products Association (who have been client’s of mine but not currently) are very engaged in responding to the Alberta infestation of Mountain Pine Beetle. They have sent a letter to the Editor of the National Post chastising the federal government for using designated funds for responding to mountain pine beetle infestation redirected for “improving rail service in BC." How does improved rail service in BC help stop the MPB? Is this move politically motivated instead of being science driven policy?

When will the feds focus on Alberta as the place the battle has to be engaged if we are to save the boreal forest? It is worth a read and the implications of the MPB killing our pine forest on our economy and our ecology and our society have to be considered. Good to see industry engaging in all aspects of this disaster in the making. Here is the AFPA letter to the National Post

July 20, 2007
Letter to Editor:
The National Post

RE: Rail gains from beetle funding by Nathan VanderKlippe July 19, 2007
The Alberta forest industry is deeply troubled by the report that Federal funding designated to combat the Mountain Pine Beetle outbreak will be utilized to improve rail service in British Columbia. We are especially concerned because north-west Alberta has now become the frontline in the battle to contain this epidemic.

With more than 2.5 million pines trees infested in northern Alberta last year alone by an overflight of beetles from British Columbia, our industry and provincial government have invested millions of dollars and significant other resources to deal with the situation. So far, no federal assistance has been provided in Alberta to support front line Mountain Pine Beetle control efforts. Alberta pine trees are dying and dead, and the next generation of beetles are now emerging and looking for new pine trees to infest and kill.

Just east of the current Alberta front line in the beetle infestation is a great forest buffet called the Boreal Forest. If the mountain pine beetle gets a foothold in the Boreal there is a good chance it will eat its way clear across our northern forests to the Atlantic Ocean.

Through a concentrated and dedicated effort by all parties, we stand a fighting chance of holding, or at least minimizing the damage to the ecosystem and local communities, as a result of the beetle outbreak. The use of funds earmarked to combat Mountain Pine Beetle for private rail interests instead is not acceptable. Don’t play politics with the health of Canada’s forests. Use the money allocated for mountain pine beetle control into actually fighting the beetle’s eastward advance.

Neil Shelly, P.Eng
Executive Director
Alberta Forest Products Association, Edmonton