Former forests minister warns against log exports

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PORT ALBERNI, B.C. — Former forests minister, David Zirnhelt, is warning that the exporting of raw logs from B.C. will be unstoppable under NAFTA.

Now that B.C. has approved three-year permits to export raw logs, Zirnhelt says it won’t be as easy to stop exporting as the province thinks.

“Any time you make a change that benefits liberal trade, it’s a one-way street,” says Zirnhelt. “Nobody can roll back the existing guidelines.”

He goes on to say the short-term benefits of raw exports could turn out to be a long-term detriment to the industry.

Under the new permits, truckers could be moving about 28,000 loads of logs that are of low value and would otherwise probably have gone uncut. However, Skeena MLA, Roger Harris, says the actual number of trees harvested for export will be significantly lower than that figure.

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