Environmental Assessment begins for Northern Pulp transformation

Mill Transformation Rendering. Source: Northern Pulp

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Company hopeful for well-defined terms of reference and independent expert panel

ABERCROMBIE, NS Dec. 7, 2021– Northern Pulp Nova Scotia (Northern Pulp) is pleased to announce Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change (NSECC) has formally accepted the recently submitted Environmental Assessment Registration Document (EARD) for its mill transformation project, beginning the rigorous Class II Environmental Assessment (EA) process.

Northern Pulp is proposing to transform its mill into one of the world’s cleanest, most environmentally focused, and community-based mills. The proposed transformation has been developed in response to community concerns while using today’s best available technology to transform the mill into a best-in-class operation.

“Since hibernating the mill in January 2020, we have taken the time to understand community concerns and issues, which we are addressing in the proposed transformation,” said Graham Kissack, VP, EH&S and Corporate Communications, Paper Excellence Canada. “Our team looks forward to beginning the more than two-year Environmental Assessment process, introducing and engaging with the public about the transformation, and beginning the journey of writing a new chapter for the future of the mill with the community.”

The more than $350 million transformation will include the most advanced wastewater treatment to ensure the treated wastewater released is sufficiently clean and transparent to be discharged into Pictou Harbour. It will also result in a significant reduction in water use, almost no visible plumes above the mill, no odour in local communities during normal operations, and an online public environmental dashboard. An optimal location of treated wastewater release into Pictou Harbour will be determined through objective environmental and marine studies.

Now that the project has been formally registered, NSECC has 14 days to prepare and release a draft EA term of reference for public review and comment. NSECC will then provide the comments to Northern Pulp to address before issuing a final Terms of Reference.

“Nova Scotia residents and businesses need to have confidence in the Environmental Assessment process and our desire is to obtain Terms of Reference that set clear, well-defined guidelines from the start and remain consistent throughout the process,” said Kissack.

The final Terms of Reference will provide Northern Pulp with a framework for preparing the Class II EA Report, including the scope, studies, methods of the assessment, and the engagement program.

To ensure a fair and thorough EA process, Northern Pulp also supports Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston’s commitment for an independent, expert panel to review and issue a recommendation to the Minister of NSECC.

“We encourage the Province to work with us, First Nations, and key stakeholders to very soon identify and secure individuals with experience and expertise in the Environmental Assessment and operation of kraft pulp mills to oversee the process,” said Kissack. “We need to make sure requirements and decisions are objective and informed by facts and science as much as possible.”

The transformed mill will contribute to a successful economy with over 600 jobs during construction, more than 300 direct and 2,500 indirect jobs during operations, a $279 million annual spend in Nova Scotia, and a contribution of over $38 million in tax annually. A centrally located mill will also provide a vital market for pulp grade wood and wood chips to support the full implementation of sustainable ecological forestry practices in Nova Scotia.

The EARD can be viewed at https://www.tomorrowsmill.ca/transformation  or https://novascotia.ca/nse/ea/mill-transformation-and-effluent-treatment-facility/.

Source: Northern Pulp