Pulp and Paper Canada

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Northern Pulp halts EA process, appeals N.S. shutdown order


Northern Pulp. Photo: © Murdo Ferguson/Paper Excellence

Paper Excellence Canada has appealed Nova Scotia’s ministerial order governing the shutdown of Northern Pulp.

The company is also putting the environmental assessment (EA) of its proposed effluent treatment facility on hold.

In a statement, Paper Excellence Canada says it has filed the appeal with the provincial Supreme Court because the conditions of the May 14 order, combined with another government order from January, “are impractical and show a lack of understanding of the pulp and paper industry and effluent treatment facilities.”

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The company has informed Nova Scotia’s environment department that more discussions between stakeholders are required in order to move forward with the EA.

“We remain concerned that the Environmental Assessment, based on the current terms of reference, is ambiguous and would not result in a clear outcome,” says Graham Kissack, vice-president, environment, health, safety and communications for Paper Excellence Canada, in the statement.

“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 pulp mill closed on January 31, the date of a five-year deadline imposed on the mill by the province in 2015 to cease depositing effluent into the waters of Boat Harbour, which is adjacent to Pictou Landing First Nation.

Northern Pulp’s plan for a replacement facility was rejected by the province in December 2019.

On Apr. 29, the mill was given two years to provide a more detailed environmental assessment according to the government’s final terms of reference.

In the meantime, Northern Pulp must conduct its on-site activities according to the May 14 ministerial order, which includes, among other things, regular measurements of water and air quality.

The order prohibits the mill from sending clean water into Boat Harbour. Paper Excellence Canada says that move could decrease the total amount of water in the lagoons and cause odours.

The company also says that since Boat Harbour is not receiving discharge from the mill, contaminants from outside sources may compromise its ability to comply with the order.