Timber bill threatens wilderness

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Timber bill threatens wilderness

SYDNEY — An estimated 50,000 hectares of native forest will be logged without any environmental impact statement as a result of the NSW government's new Timber Industry Protection Bill, says Jeff Angel of the Total Environment Centre. This could include areas nominated for wilderness status.

Up to 30% of nominated wilderness in the New England area could be under threat, and about 48,000 hectares of wilderness altogether.

Protests by the environment movement, and the Endangered Fauna Act passed by the state opposition and independent MPs, drew attention to the fact that the state Forestry Commission had been operating in violation of the Environment Protection Act for about 12 years by failing to carry out environmental impact statements before authorising logging.

The commission has now scheduled around 15 impact studies to be completed by September 1994, but in the meantime it has the power to authorise logging without studies in many areas.