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PM Sipilä defends Centre Party stand on continued logging

The prime minister used time during a regular radio interview to explain his controversial comments on proposals to cut back on Finnish forest harvesting.

Juha Sipilä
Finland's Prime Minister Juha Sipilä Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

Finnish premier Juha Sipilä used part of his regular radio interview on Sunday to respond to former Green Party chair Ville Niinistö's claim that Sipilä had lied in a newspaper interview.

Niinistö referred to a Uutissuomalainen news agency interview with Sipilä, in which he said that the "Red-Green side would in practice prohibit the use of forests entirely".

Upon reading the article, the former Greens leader tweeted that all of the political parties have been discussing what would be a sustainable amount of logging in Finland in light of biodiversity, the environment, and carbon capture. He pointed out that talk of possible decreases have been limited to reductions of ten percent or so.

"No bans on felling have been presented," Niinistö said, adding that "Lying is an ugly habit".

"Logging creates steady work"

Sipilä responded in the Sunday by saying that 95 percent of Green MP candidates in the upcoming elections have said they would like to reduce forest harvesting immediately. The PM said one Green MP even proposed banning logging in Finland altogether during a parliamentary question hour.

"If we should cut down our use of forest products right away, then it is warranted to ask just where the Greens and Left would be willing to shut down the first mill. That's what it means, in practice," Sipilä said.

Sipilä said he is a staunch defender of Finland's sustainable forest management and use of forest resources. He says that increased wood use is sure to attract foreign investors and is essential for balanced development of the country's economy.

"Logging also creates steady work throughout Finland. The Centre Party will stand firm on this," he said.

Sipilä said he bases his party's position on studies from the Natural Resources Institute (Luke), the Finnish Environmental Institute (Syke) and the Technical Research Centre (VTT) that conclude that harvesting of 80 million cubic metres annually would be sustainable. He points out that at this rate, calculations have shown that Finland would still be carbon neutral by 2030.

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