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Media Release

Evidence Confirms Sierra Club of Canada Concerns over Black Brook Certification Process

For immediate release: January 21, 2000

Ottawa - The Sierra Club of Canada has renewed its call for a public review of the “green” certification of J. D. Irving, Ltd.'s Black Brook Management District in northern New Brunswick. The Sierra Club had challenged the certification when it was announced in September 1998. This past November the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) dismissed a formal Sierra Club appeal of the certification claiming it had missed a deadline for filing documents. The Sierra Club believes a recent FSC investigation of J. D. Irving's use of pesticides raises serious questions about the certification process.

“The Irving Company's certification should never have been granted,” stated Charles Restino, a Technical Advisor for the Sierra Club, who compiled the pesticide information. “The quality of the review of forest practices in the Scientific Certification System Black Brook (SCS) certification process is now even more in question.”

The FSC report confirmed that SCS, of Oakland, California, gave a “green” certification to the Black Brook District even though J. D. Irving, Ltd. was operationally using six different chemical pesticides which are clearly prohibited under FSC guidelines. The pesticides were being used in nurseries, seed orchards and softwood tree plantations. J. D. Irving, Ltd. claims it was “only” using one of the chemicals, the herbicide Garlon, “on an experimental basis”. However, New Brunswick government records obtained by the Sierra Club show J. D. Irving Ltd.'s use of Garlon had increased 500% since 1996. Garlon was being used to kill Sugar Maple and other hardwood tree species in plantations in Black Brook.

J. D. Irving, Ltd. also claimed that it has reduced herbicide spraying over the past three years. However, reports obtained from the New Brunswick Department of Environment show the company's spraying in 1999 was actually twelve percent higher than in either 1995 or 1996.

The Sierra Club of Canada views these actions to be an extremely disturbing breach of the objectives of FSC certification. Sierra Club is appalled at SCS' unacceptable certifying practices. Their administration of evaluation protocol required by FSC guidelines is clearly problematic. Elizabeth May, Executive Director, of the Sierra Club of Canada said, “We were not surprised J. D. Irving announced it was withdrawing from the FSC in the Maritimes. Its recent complaints over the Maritime Regional standards are just another smoke screen designed to obscure the reality that their practices do not meet the international standards.”


For more information, contact:
Sierra Club of Canada (613) 241-4611

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