A letter of concern has been sent to Estonian company Est-For, signed by a number of Estonian NGOs and by the Environmental Paper Network. The letter expresses the worries about the planned Est-For pulp mill (they call it “biorefinery”), as there appear to be insufficient safeguards in place to prevent negative impacts on the environment.
The environmental organisations warn against investment in this project until these safeguards are put in place.
The risks we are concerned about are outlined in the letter:
The concerns that need to be addressed include the following.
• Risks of pollution impacting the water quality of River Emajõgi and Lake Peipus.
• Risks to Estonian forests because of the additional timber demand for the refinery, which is very likely to harm biodiversity and reduce carbon stocks, and lack of any guarantees about certification of wood supplies.
• Inadequate criteria for the environmental impact assessment (EIA) given the scale of this project.
• Future risks that environmental regulations will be weakened to prop up such a large industrial operation.
If built, the Est-For biorefinery will produce an annual output of 700,000 tonnes of pulp, and consume 2.5 to 4 million cubic metres of wood per year, for many decades.