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John Collins: A few reasons for a Federal Environmental Assessment of the Northern Pulp effluent pipe

Caribou-Munroe’s Island Park, near where Northern Pulp proposes to release the effluent. Photo Pinterest

To Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans; Iain Rankin, Nova Scotia Minister of Environment; Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change; Premier Stephen McNeil of Nova Scotia; Premier Wade MacLaughlan of PEI 

Honorable Ministers,

Caribou Harbour is the largest fishing port in Northern Nova Scotia and the proposed discharge location for Northern Pulp’s ‘treated’ effluent. This plan would make Caribou Harbour, the next Boat Harbour.

In 2015, our provincial government actually tried to moderately curb Northern Pulp’s water usage in the industrial approval process, which in turn would reduce the effluent produced and Northern Pulp responded by taking our government to the Supreme Court. The Province eventually conceded.  Imagine, the same entity that you’ve subsidized repeatedly, you try to curb their pollution then they take you to court! A bit ruthless, wouldn’t you say? I guess it could be interpreted the province was trying to prepare for the closure of Boat Harbour and perhaps save itself some of its remediation costs.

A few reasons for a Federal Environmental Assessment, based on the negative impact the proposed discharge location and associated effluent will have on the Strait:

  1. The obvious conflict of interest of having the Province as both the supplier of the new treatment facility and regulator of the same.
  2. Northern Pulp’s receiving water study is based on dated modeling of the Northumberland Strait. This modeling, to have any chance at accuracy, needs to be made current.
  3. The receiving water area is part of a Marine Protected Area; a scallop buffer zone.
  4. This is within a Federal fishing zone.
  5. The Aboriginal rights of Pictou Landing First Nations need to be considered. The new discharge location still has a direct affect on them and their livelihood, as it pertains to fishing.
  6. The Northumberland Strait borders on Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. There are fishers from all three provinces, including First Nations, that will be impacted by this proposed effluent.
  7. There are ‘Species at Risk’ that potentially will be negatively affected.
  8. The proposed discharge location is directly adjacent to Caribou-Munroe’s Island Park; a bird and wildlife sanctuary.
  9. Northern Pulp is undoubtedly going to take the Province of Nova Scotia to court when Boat Harbour closes as per the ‘Boat Harbour Act.’ Consequently, there is pressure on the province to expedite the environmental process, due to the Indemnity Agreement and lease arrangements between our provincial government and Northern Pulp.

Please ensure a Federal Environmental Assessment is applied.


John Collins

Alma Road, Loch Broom, N.S.


See also: John Collins: A letter on Northern Pulp, Science and the clock that’s ticking

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One Comment

  1. the fairest way to decide on this issue as a whole is to have a vote on it by the people in the areas that would be affected by this Northern Pulp proposed pollution pipe in all really 4 provinces ( N.S ,PEI. N.B. & NFLD) not 3 this pipe is designed to pollute

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