Forestry exemption extended under ESA – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – May 4, 2018)

TIMMINS – An exemption under the Endangered Species Act that allowing forestry to maintain current operations has been extended by the province for another two years.

Ontario Minister of Natural Resources Nathalie Des Rosiers, who was in Timmins briefly this week, said she is encouraged by that. She said the effort will now be made to achieving a balance — protecting the habitat of woodland caribou while continuing to provide wood fibre to the forest industry.

Des Rosier did not offer any specific solution to that, but said a newly-formed roundtable is charged with finding several solutions.  “Yesterday (Tuesday), I had a really good roundtable in Hearst with different partners in the forestry industry,” Des Rosiers said in a brief interview with The Daily Press this week.

She said this included touring the Columbia Forest Products plants as well as a meeting with area mayors, including Hearst Mayor Roger Siguoin, a fierce advocate for the forestry sector.

Des Rosiers said the roundtable was set up to discuss the interactions between forestry and the protection of endangered species. The exemption was first granted in 2013 to allow forestry companies to pursue their existing forest management plans without worrying about the ESA.

A long-stated concern between Northern mayors and other municipal leaders is that the Endangered Species Act and the concern for the woodland boreal caribou – a threatened species, not an endangered species – would pose a threat to forestry companies seeking continued access to wood supply.

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