Environment groups file legal action to force govt to increase protection of B.C. forests

By Neal Hall – The Canadian Press
Three environmental groups filed legal action Thursday to force the provincial government to boost protection of dwindling old growth forests.

“We have amazing forests. It’s just not right to be logging them into extinction,” Joe Foy of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee told reporters at a news conference in Vancouver.

Valerie Langer, B.C. Forests campaign director of the ForestEthics Solutions Society, said environmental groups have been asking the government for years to protect old-growth forests, but it continues to be logged.

She said ForestEthics, the Wilderness Committee and a third group, Ecojustice, decided to file legal action “to see if the courts will force the government to increase environmental protection.”

Foy said he recently witnessed old-growth trees being cut down near Nanoose Bay on Vancouver Island, but hopes the court action will put a stop to those kind of logging practices.

“The next forest, I hope, we’re in a position to save,” he said.

Foy stood in front of a map that showed only two per cent of old-growth coastal Douglas-fir forests remaining on the east coast of Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and a fringe of B.C.’s mainland along the Georgia Strait.

He estimated there is as little as 275 hectares of coastal Douglas-fir old-growth forest left, compared to an estimated 135,000 hectares that existed before commerical logging began.

“In New Zealand, it’s illegal to log old-growth forests,” Foy pointed put. “We need a made-in-B.C. solution.”

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