Seven Newcastle councillors are seeking to ensure wood chip exports do not recommence from the Port of Newcastle.
It follows confirmation that renewable energy start-up Sweetman Renewables is exploring the possibility of exporting wood chips ,via the port, to Japan for use in a biomass-fuelled power station.
Woodchip exports from the Port of Newcastle ceased in 2013 following a sustained campaign from the conservation movement.
In addition to stopping wood chip exports councillors John Mackenzie, Declan Clausen, Carol Duncan, Jason Dunn, Nuatali Nelmes, Emma White and Peta Winney-Baartz are also seeking to better understand the port's diversification plans, including how, exporting wood chips for fuel contributes to those plans.
"The City of Newcastle recognised in a council resolution of 28 May 2019 that there is a global climate emergency and urgent need for real action on climate change," Tuesday's Notice of Motion says.
"The City of Newcastle has consistently affirmed a commitment to a just economic transition for coal mining communities, including support for investment in hydrogen as an export energy, construction of large-scale renewables and pumped hydro, and manufacturing of electric vehicles.
"Biomass export is inconsistent with these positions, and a backwards step on the road to sustainability and clean energy."
This included residues from sawmills and further wood processing using logs supplied under existing contractual arrangements by the Forestry Corporation of NSW.
He confirmed the company was in discussions with a logistics company regarding the possibility of using a facility at the Port of Newcastle formerly used by Boral to export woodchips.
If successful the company would export 60,000 tonnes of wood chips per annum to Japan over 20 years.
A Port of Newcastle spokeswoman said the port had not been approached about the proposal.
"The port currently operates the shipping channel and leases wharves and land. We have no ownership interest in any organisation that loads or contacts the ships nor the agents that act for them in the harbour.
As such it is more likely that a stevedore may have been in discussions, however stevedores currently permitted to use the port under lease or contract do not represent the views, provide endorsement or guarantee the involvement of the Port of Newcastle," the spokeswoman said.
"Port of Newcastle would not lease facilities for this purpose, however it must be noted that there are existing business operators on the port over which we have no control.
"Port of Newcastle has been approached directly to lease land for many export purposes over the last two years alone and we have declined most, including live cattle export, radioactive waste and a previous woodchip proposal."
IN THE NEWS:
- Newcastle, Hunter cases a concern as NSW 80 per cent roadmap laid out
- NSW COVID roadmap: what changes at 80 per cent and December 1
- Councils want passenger trains, new port rail link to be part of Lower Hunter Freight Corridor
- Normality beckons for vaxed-up NSW
- Police investigate after gun fired at Commodore at Mount Hutton
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: