The EPA has imposed a 40 day Stop Work Order on Forestry Corporation logging in Compartments 32, 33 and 34 of Wild Cattle Creek State Forest, inland from Coffs Harbour, after their finding of two giant trees >140 cm cut down.
The North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) welcome what they say is the EPA’s belated imposition of the Order.
NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh says that despite NEFA making numerous requests in the past for the EPA to issue Stop Work Orders they have refused to do so, instead taking years to investigate while allowing the Forestry Corporation to go on offending and cover up evidence.
‘It is great that the EPA have issued their first Stop Work Order on the Forestry Corporation, though reprehensible that the EPA waited 9 days after finding the breaches on 9 July until logging was virtually complete before stopping work,’ said Mr Pugh.
NEFA waited over a year and a half for EPA action
‘NEFA have been waiting over a year and a half for the EPA to take action in relation to other serious breaches in Wild Cattle Creek State Forest, yet they still won’t tell us what breaches they found or what action they are taking.
‘While the EPA dither the Forestry Corporation continue their illegal logging in the expectation that they will get away with it, as they usually do.
Mr Pugh said that NEFA have reported thousands of illegally logged hollow-bearing trees in the past. ‘At best, the EPA only issue warning letters, and often not even that. It is not surprising that the Forestry Corporation regularly flout the rules.
‘The situation is dire for the plethora of native animals dependent upon the hollows provided by large old trees, and the few left in our forests were further depleted by the recent fires.
‘All trees >80 cm diameter need to be protected to maintain the hollows vital to the survival of so many of our unique animals. Even the EPA recommended in 2016 that trees >120 cm diameter should be protected, though were overridden by the Forestry Corporation.
‘The Forestry Corporation’s claims that measurements of tree bases are unreliable beggars belief as the rules are so explicit that anybody with a tape can do it.’