FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, December 17, 2019
K’JIPUKTUK (HALIFAX) – The Ecology Action Centre applauds the decision by Environment Minister Gordon Wilson requiring Northern Pulp to file an environmental assessment report for its proposed effluent treatment plant.
Raymond Plourde, Senior Wilderness Coordinator at EAC, says it’s the right call. “Minister Wilson appears to be discharging his duty properly, seriously and without prejudice,” Plourde says.
Today the Minister made it clear that Northern Pulp’s focus report lacked the science-based information needed to properly assess the risks the project poses to air, water, fish and human health. Opponents of the project have been voicing similar concerns since the project was first proposed.
When the Boat Harbour Act was proclaimed in 2015, it was the responsibility of Northern Pulp to create a proposal for operating without using Boat Harbour.
“Northern Pulp has had five years to find clean technology and become an economic partner to Nova Scotia who cared about our environment and the health of our communities. Instead, they came forward with a proposal to pump the plant’s effluent directly into the Northumberland Strait.”
The Boat Harbour Act requires Northern Pulp to stop pumping effluent into Boat Harbour by January 31, 2020, to allow work to begin on the clean-up of half a century of toxic pollution and environmental racism. It is estimated that cleaning up Boat Harbour will cost a quarter billion dollars or more of taxpayer dollars and take years to complete.
“Under no circumstances should the province break the Boat Harbour Act and extend the use of Boat Harbour as an industrial waste dump," says Plourde. "We stand in solidarity with Pictou Landing First Nation, the fishermen who make their living fishing in Northumberland Strait and local residents as we all work to ensure that the deadline is kept, as promised.”
In July 2018, the #NoPipe Land & Sea Rally brought over 3,500 citizens together in and on Pictou Harbour to oppose the plan by Northern Pulp to pump up to 90 million litres of toxic pulp mill waste directly into the Northumberland Strait via an underwater pipe.
In March 2019, Nova Scotia Environment received more than 900 submissions on the first stage of the Northern Pulp’s Environmental Assessment for their pipe proposal. Northern Pulp’s Environmental Assessment for their Replacement Effluent Treatment System (the proposed effluent pipe into Northumberland Strait) was sent back to the company, by Environment Minister Margaret Miller, citing 19 areas where lack of information made it impossible to assess the environmental impact. Many of the areas flagged in EAC’s submission to the Environmental Assessment process were identified by the Minister as deficient. You can read EAC’s submission here.
In October 2019, that focus report was made public -- 2,600 pages of complex information with a narrow timeframe for public review. EAC worked with East Coast Environmental Law to prepare and submit our response to the focus report. It was one of more than 3,200 public submissions.
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For further information, please contact:
Senior Wilderness Coordinator, Ecology Action Centre