Pictou and Halifax – Ecojustice and Friends of the Northumberland Strait (FONS) are relieved and pleased that the Minister of Environment has not approved Northern Pulp’s proposed new effluent treatment facility and has ordered a full Environmental Assessment Report (EAR) for the project.
“We are very pleased that the Minister of Environment recognized that Northern Pulp has not provided the science to show that this project can be built and operated without significant harm,” says James Gunvaldsen Klaassen, a lawyer with Ecojustice. Ecojustice’s submission on behalf of Friends of the Northumberland Strait included expert opinions pointing to significant risks of the project, flaws in Northern Pulp’s modeling and factual errors. Submissions from fisheries organizations and Pictou Landing First Nation also provided strong scientific evidence that the project would harm the environment.
“Northern Pulp has twice produced unreliable and inaccurate documents, although they had five years to gather information,” says Jill Graham-Scanlan, President of FONS. “We believe the Minister had enough evidence to reject the proposal now, but we are ready to present him with the science a third time. We believe that a full environmental assessment report will prove that Northern Pulp’s proposal would cause significant environmental harm. At the end of the day, we are confident that this project will be rejected and there will be no pipe in the Northumberland Strait.”
“We are pleased that the process will allow continued involvement of the public and independent scientific experts. We hope for a fairer process this time around, with more time for the public to read materials and provide input,” says Gunvaldsen Klaassen.
Northern Pulp unveiled its plan to discharge 85 million litres of treated effluent daily into the lucrative fishing grounds of the Northumberland Strait two years ago. Since then, the proposal has faced broad and continued opposition. Fishermen from Nova Scotia, PEI, New Brunswick and Pictou Landing First Nations took a united stand against the plan. A #NOPIPE Land & Sea Rally in July 2018 drew 3500 people.
Last month, the Fishermen’s Working Group, Pictou Landing First Nation, Friends of the Northumberland Strait and the Town of Pictou called on the Minister of the Environment to reject Northern Pulp’s proposed new facility.
Photo by Verne Equinox – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0