Re: “Concerns raised over use of whole logs at Pinnacle Pellet plant” (Interior News, May 20, 2020).
I feel compelled to shed some light on the facts that the general public in the Smithers area may not know about.
I have been a logging contractor in the valley for the past 25 years. I feel I have had first-hand experience in dealing with the sawmills, pulp mills and now Pinnacle Pellet, in supplying them with fibre, be it saw logs or pulp logs.
Over the last 15 years or so we have lost both pulp mills in the Pacific Northwest. After the pulp mills closed we were left with no option but to burn the waste and pulp logs that were in the sawlog stands that we logged.
Fortunately, Pinnacle has built pellet plants in Houston, Burns Lake and now Smithers. These plants provide a perfect place for us as contractors to take our pulp logs. Pinnacle building a plant in Smithers is the best thing to happen here both environmentally and economically in a long time.
As well as taking pulp logs from the bush, farms in the valley are also able to clear their land of Poplar and Aspen and can deliver it to Pinnacle instead of having to burn it, waste it and fill the valley with smoke. Pellets produced with the use of pulp logs in our region are exported overseas and used to generate electricity in other countries, thereby reducing their need to burn coal.
Sustainable well-paying jobs are being created for people working at the plant, loggers delivering fibre to the plant, and others transporting the pellets to overseas markets. It’s hard to explain how satisfying it is to log a timber sale and deliver 99 per cent of the fiber from the sale to a destination rather than having to burn up to 30 per cent of the volume because it is pulp and we had no place to take it.
The whole logs that you see being delivered to Pinnacle are pulp logs, not saw logs, they have no practical use for making lumber. The article states that the environmental organization Stand.Earth says, “B.C.’s growing pellet market is putting our forest and wildlife at risk.”
Really? This is just bizarre. No wonder industry throws its hands in the air; they can’t win for losing.
I understand there will always be some earth-first, environmental organization that will not think they have succeeded until every industry of any sort in this country is shut down.
In the meantime I give thumbs up to the West Fraser sawmill and Pinnacle Pellet plant for buying the fibre from our timber licences. This provides our employees with work they’re proud to do. Harvesting logs to make lumber for people to build homes and delivering pulp material to make pellets for domestic use as well as other countries to heat our homes and produce power in an environmentally-friendly way.