Two environmental groups are taking the Ford Government to court over a new forest management plan for the Temagami Forest that doesn't factor in the impact of harvesting operations on the climate.
Ecojustice lawyers, on behalf of Earthroots and Friends of Temagami, announced Feb. 6 that a lawsuit has been filed against the province for its refusal to take "climate-related considerations" into account in its new 10-year forestry management plan for the unit, as required by law.
The groups say the almost 430,000-hectare Temagami Forest is home to nearly 50 per cent of the world's largest old-growth red and white pine forests.
Harvesting that wood, they contend, disrupts ecosystems and will release "substantial amounts of carbon" into the atmosphere.
The Temagami unit is situated north of North Bay and south of Elk Lake. It takes in the communities of New Liskeard, Haileybury, Cobalt, Temagami, Latchford, Dymond, Harris, Hudson and Coleman Townships.
The groups point to Ontario's own legislation that all forest management plans are exempt from environmental assessment (EA) provided the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) addresses certain mandatory conditions, such as climate change mitigation and carbon management.
Earthroots and the Friends of Temagami contend their request for a provincial EA was denied by the ministry last May.
"Ontario is required to consider climate change before exempting forestry from environmental assessment," said Joshua Ginsberg, a lawyer with Ecojustice, in a news release.
"When this condition is not met, the environment ministry is legally required to kickstart the individual environmental assessment process. This...