Premier Says NO to Pictou Pulp Mill
Premier Stephen McNeil says the Boat Harbour Act will be enforced and Northern Pulp in Pictou County must stop pumping effluent into Boat Harbour on January 31, 2020.
McNeil said, “In 2015, I made a commitment to clean up Boat Harbour and I am honouring that commitment today.”
The announcement means the closure of the mill at the end of next month, with little likelihood of the company developing other waste treatment plans to re-open down the road.
The Premier said, “Now, I am making a commitment to the workers of the mill and the forestry sector throughout Nova Scotia that we will be here for you in this transition - and make no mistake, I will honour that commitment as well."
He announced a $50-million transition fund to support displaced workers, small contractors, and all those whose livelihoods will be affected across the province. The transition fund will be used for retraining and education, and for emergency funding to help those in immediate need.
A transition team will be led by Kelliann Dean, deputy minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Trade. She will be supported internally by the departments of Finance and Treasury Board, Lands and Forestry, and Labour and Advanced Education, as well as a team from outside government including the president of Nova Scotia Community College, Don Bureaux, and representatives from each sector of the industry.
The Boat Harbour Act passed in the House of Assembly, with the support of all parties, and it received Royal Assent on May 11, 2015.
Northern Pulp responded with an effluent treatment plan for environmental assessment on February 7th of this year, and submitted a focus report on October 2nd.
The minister of environment announced on Tuesday there was not enough scientific information to approve or reject the project. That opened the door for a possible extension to the company’s current methods of operation while they prepared the requested environmental assessment which could have taken another two years.
The premier’s announcement slams that door, just has he had repeatedly forewarned over the last five years.
The mill has operated under ownership of numerous companies since the 1950s, during which time it also grew with environmental controversy. Boat Harbour is now recognized as Nova Scotia’s most toxic waste site, no doubt suggesting the clean-up expense will carry a substantial price tag and a liability for the province.
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