PICTOU — Four major stakeholders voiced their opposition to Northern Pulp’s effluent pipe proposal during a media conference on Tuesday at the deCoste Performing Arts Centre.
The Town of Pictou, Pictou Landing First Nation, the Fishermen’s Working Group representing 3,000 fishermen from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I., and Friends of the Northumberland Strait (FONS) presented their main findings in response to the focus report Northern Pulp released in the early fall.
Mayor Jim Ryan represented the town, Jill Graham-Scanlan spoke on behalf of FONS and Jamie Simpson addressed the conference on the fishermen’s working group; local fishermen Colton Cameron also spoke. Pictou Landing First Nation was represented in absentia by its legal counsel, Brian Hebert.
Nova Scotia Environment sought the focus report to fill gaps the department felt existed in Northern Pulp’s original environmental assessment registration document. Strong debate has resulted from Northern Pulp’s plan to release up to 85 million litres of treated effluent daily into the fertile fishing grounds of the Northumberland Strait.
Graham-Scanlan said the four groups agree that Northern Pulp “has not satisfactorily answered the terms of reference set by Nova Scotia Environment” and NP’s focus report “is still missing critical information in many areas.” She added, “The focus report contains factual errors on important issues, risks have been ignored or minimized, critical decisions are left to a later date and scientific studies on key issues have still not been completed.”
She said that Northern Pulp’s conclusion that there will be no significant lasting harm to the environment or human health “is not credible or supported by science.”
Graham-Scanlan said, “Submissions to the Minister from our groups and other members of the public contain credible, science-based evidence that Northern Pulp’s proposed project is likely to cause adverse effects or significant environmental effects which are not acceptable.”
Ryan referenced a document he shared at the regular town council meeting on Monday. He said, “We have concluded that the proposed modified route for the pipe carrying treated effluent to Caribou Harbour fails to address the previously stated concerns of the Town of Pictou.”
He said, “We are asking the (Environment) Minister to reject this plan.”
Jill Graham Scanlan, right, addresses the media conference on Tuesday held by stakeholders regarding the Northern Pulp Focus Report. With her from left: Pictou Mayor Jim Ryan, Colton Cameron and Jamie Simpson. (Goodwin photo)