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Union maintains support for Northern Pulp effluent treatment plan


November 29, 2019
By P&PC Staff

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The union representing workers at Northern Pulp has released a statement expressing its continued support of the pulp and paper mill’s proposed effluent treatment facility, which is currently under review with Nova Scotia Environment (NSE).

“We remain confident NSE will assess the project and come to an appropriate decision, and we trust it will be one that protects the environment, respects community concerns and supports the more than 2,700 jobs at stake across the province,” says Jerry Dias, Unifor national president. “We want our members to know we fully support them and we believe this mill can coexist in its community just as dozens of other pulp and paper mills currently do across Canada.”

The province of Nova Scotia has ordered the Abercrombie-based Northern Pulp, which is owned by Paper Excellence, to remove its effluent drainage pipe from its current location by January 31, 2020. The pipe runs near the Pictou Landing First Nation and into the waters of Boat Harbour.

The mill’s proposed replacement plan includes a new effluent treatment facility constructed on Northern Pulp property. A 15.5-kilometre water pipe would deliver treated effluent to Caribou Harbour, in the Northumberland Strait.

Unifor submitted commentary to NSE during an open consultation period for the focus report Northern Pulp submitted to the province on Oct. 2, which contained additional details about the drainage pipe’s environmental impact.

In its statement, the union highlighted the mill’s record of improved performance, the importance of keeping paper product production within the bounds of Canada’s environmental regulatory jurisdiction, and the Nova Scotia forestry sector’s reliance on Northern Pulp.

At a press conference in Pictou, Nova Scotia on Nov. 19, groups including Friends of Northumberland Strait, Pictou First Nation and local fishermen who are opposed to the new plan gathered to voice their concern about the focus report.

In a joint statement, they said the report did not provide enough information to indicate the proposed treatment system would not harm the environment or the local fishing waters, and requested that the province’s environment minister not green-light the project.