The people of Estonia struggling to prevent a huge ‘biorefinery’, which would consume a quarter of Estonia’s wood supply and pollute the country’s second largest river, have today received support from concerned organisations all over the world. Estonian civil society groups, the City of Tartu, the former prime minister and many prominent scientists have already made public statements of their opposition and tomorrow, thousands of Estonians will take to the streets to protest the proposed Est-For pulp mill and energy plant and demand that the government show it a red light. Today, the Environmental Paper Network (EPN) is releasing a discussion document: “Bio-refinery: new name, dirty old story” detailing the concerns of civil society, scientists and politicians about the proposed ‘Est-For’ pulp mill and energy plant.

Mandy Haggith, co-ordinator of the EPN said, “The promotors of Est-For want people to think that their biorefinery would be something shiny and clean, but in fact it would be a pulp mill using dirty old-fashioned technology, coupled to a forest-guzzling energy plant. We hope that the Estonian government will listen to the concerns of the people and that potential investors will tune into the discussion about the environmental and social risks of the project before considering financing it.”

Siim Kuresoo, of the Estonian Fund for Nature said “Any new timber industry development should have strong, binding commitments to source sustainable wood and minimise emissions. Est-For is unclear about how it will achieve either of these objectives. Considering the size of the planned project, the risks of large-scale negative impacts are high. The promoters and the government must work hard to ensure true sustainability, only then can we be sure that Estonia will truly benefit.“
The discussion document “Bio-refinery: new name, dirty old story” is published here: