A recent column (“More discussion needed on B.C.’s green wood pellet industry”) perpetuated misleading claims about the biomass industry.
At Drax, we’re very proud of the work our employees do in Williams Lake and across B.C. I appreciate the opportunity to explain five topics that address what we’re doing to help Canada’s forests and biodiversity thrive and confirm what we’re not doing.
Demand for wood pellets is not driving deforestation. Natural Resources Canada notes deforestation in Canada is among the world’s lowest and Canada is a world leader in sustainable forest management.
High-value logs are not being harvested expressly for pellet production by Drax.
Harvesting trees for wood pellets doesn’t make economic sense, which is why Canadian forests aren’t harvested for biomass.
When a particular log doesn’t find a buyer, this is where the pellet industry can step in to ensure it isn’t wasted. Utilizing this woody fibre is environmentally responsible and generates additional revenue streams that can make the difference between a mill being viable or having to shut down.
We’re proud to have strong, growing partnerships with First Nations groups to use fibre from slash piles and forest clean-up residuals, resulting from their forestry operations. Local First Nations strive to strike a balance between traditional and modern uses in order to sustain their communities and safeguard the natural environment.
In response to B.C.’s catastrophic wildfires, the provincial government increased the removal of stands of trees, harvesting the large number of dead or dying trees created by pests. This reduces the amount of potential fuel in the forest, making devastating wildfires less likely.
Drax supported more than 10,000 jobs across Canada in 2021, employing more than 500 workers directly in B.C. and Alberta, with more than $38 million in gross employee compensation paid to its Canadian employees in 2021.
We’re proud to be a member of the Williams Lake community and look forward to continuing to showcase the great work of Drax’s dedicated employees at our local pellet mills.
Liezl van Wyck
SVP, Northern Operations Drax