Northern Pulp to mothball mill as it continues with environmental assessment process (

Just weeks before the mill is scheduled to shut down, officials with Northern Pulp have informed the Nova Scotia government they plan to continue with the environmental assessment process for a proposed new effluent treatment facility.

Environment Minister Gordon Wilson said last month the company’s most recent attempt to get approval for the project, which would include treatment on the mill’s property in Pictou County and treated effluent sent to the Northumberland Strait via a pipeline, lacked sufficient scientific information. At the time, Wilson said the project would require an environmental assessment report.

Just days later, Premier Stephen McNeil said he would not extend the deadline in the Boat Harbour Act, legislation that says the mill must stop using the former tidal estuary to treat its effluent as of the end of this month.

The decision effectively spelled the end of the mill and officials have begun the shutdown process. The operation is no longer buying pulpwood, a move that’s had a drastic effect on the forestry sector and value of woodlots, and layoff notices for the mill’s 350 workers are imminent.

Still, according to the 37-page draft terms of reference released by the Environment Department on Wednesday, the company told the government on Jan. 2 it intended to continue with the environmental assessment process, a decision that required the department to release the draft. The public has until Feb. 7 to comment on the document, exactly a week after Boat Harbour is scheduled to stop receiving effluent.
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