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Northern Pulp: Senators, fisheries experts call on feds for environmental assessment


November 29, 2018
By P&PC Staff

November 29, 2018 – Four independent senators and several fisheries researchers have called on the federal government to conduct a thorough environmental assessment on Northern Pulp’s proposed effluent drainage pipeline, which has been the subject of much opposition over recent weeks. 

The Pictou, Nova Scotia–based mill has been ordered by the provincial government to stop diverting its effluent through the nearby Pictou Landing First Nations reserve, and, in an effort to find an alternative, the mill has been attempting to conduct surveys of the water in Northumberland Strait as a site for the terminus of its pipeline, which will deposit 70 million litres of treated effluent per day. Local fishermen have thwarted the mill’s assessment by forming a blockade with their boats. 

The CBC reports that Mike Duffy, a P.E.I. independent senator, submitted a statement to the senate this week on behalf of senators Dan Christmas (Nova Scotia), Brian Francis (P.E.I.) and Diane Griffin (P.E.I.) that called Northern Pulp’s activity “dangerous” because it could harm local fishing habitats. The senators say that since the fishing industries could be affected in Quebec as well as Nova Scotia, the federal government should be involved.

The Canadian Press reports that Remy Rochette, chair of biological science at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, and Bruce Hatcher, a biologist at Cape Breton University, have echoed the call for a federal environmental review. 

The stringent review could take up to two years by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, compared to the provincial review process of 50 days. 

Paper Excellence, the parent company of Northern Pulp, maintains that its new plan, which will involve fully treating the effluent before it leaves the mill, is better than its existing traditional system (used by 80 per cent of kraft mills), which sends untreated effluent to aerating and settling lagoons.

Read the full story over on our partner site at CleanTech Canada.