On Tuesday (11-2-21), B.C.’s Forests Minister Katrine Conroy announced a plan to defer logging on more than 26,000 square kilometers of land that contains the province’s most at-risk old-growth forests, subject to consent by 204 First Nations. On Thursday (11-4-21), Minister Conroy defended her position saying she is rejecting the accusations that she undermined the future of the forest communities in B.C. by relying on the recommendations from a biased technical panel stacked with environmentalists.
Conroy said the experts on the panel are respected in their fields and although they have done work for environmental groups, each has also done work for governments and First Nations. “I don’t think it matters which experts we would have gotten on the technical advisory panel. We would have gotten the same results,” Conroy said.
The minister went on to say that the two-year deferrals are the first step in reforming forestry policies so as to put biodiversity and reconciliation with Indigenous Nations ahead of the financial value of logged trees. “During deferral we will be talking to Indigenous Nations about what they want in their traditional territories — working with them on an integrated landscape management plan. This gives time to do the plan they want to do,” Conroy explained.
But First Nations, including the Huu-ay-aht, whose territory borders Fairy Creek, which is the site of protests against old-growth logging, say 30 days is not enough time to do the analysis to decide whether to agree to the deferrals and a $12.7-million-dollar fund to assist Nations.
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Forests minister defends plan to defer old-growth logging amid backlash