Northern Pulp appeals Ministerial Order for cleanup

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ABERCROMBIE – Northern Pulp has notified Nova Scotia Environment of its intention to pause the Environment Assessment for the new Effluent Treatment Facility (ETF).

A press release issued by the company says this move is to facilitate further detailed discussions with stakeholders about how Northern Pulp and the community can best work together to foster a clean environment, maintain and protect jobs, and contribute to a strong Nova Scotian economy.

“We remain concerned that the Environmental Assessment, based on the current terms of reference, is ambiguous and would not result in a clear outcome. Instead, it could lead to more uncertainty, division, and disappointment among stakeholders,” said Graham Kissack, VP, Environment, Health, Safety and Communications for Paper Excellence Canada, on behalf of Northern Pulp.

“Pausing the assessment will provide time for us to further engage the community in discussion about the mill and its future, how we can best co-exist, and an appropriate Environmental Assessment process for the environmental improvement being proposed.”

The mill was forced to stop production by January 31, 2020, after the Province of Nova Scotia’s decision to require Northern Pulp to cease using the Boat Harbour Effluent Treatment Facility to treat effluent from its pulp mill over a decade prior to the end of the term of the lease for the Boat Harbour facility. This closure left the mill with no ability to treat or transport pulp effluent.  

Since January, Northern Pulp has been conducting a safe and environmentally sound hibernation of the mill, which would allow it to reopen in the event a proposed new ETF receives the necessary approvals.

Yesterday, Northern Pulp filed an appeal with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court related to the order Nova Scotia’s Minister of Environment issued to Northern Pulp on May 14, 2020 for management of the Northern Pulp site during its hibernation. The mill says the new Ministerial Order imposes terms and conditions, in addition to those in a January 2020 Ministerial Order that are impractical and show a lack of understanding of the pulp and paper industry and effluent treatment facilities.

“We want to operate in Nova Scotia and believe that a modern mill and healthy environment can co-exist in Pictou County, just like it does in 89 other communities with pulp and paper mills across Canada,” said Kissack.