PaperAge Magazine

Northern Pulp Plans to Shut Down Nova Scotia Mill After Premier Refuses to Grant Extension

Northern Pulp mill to close Northern Pulp is located in Abercrombie Point, Pictou County, Nova Scotia and has operated since 1967. The mill manufactures 280,000 tonnes per year of northern bleached softwood kraft (NBSK) pulp and directly employs about 350 people. Photo courtesy Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press.

Dec. 20, 2019 (CBC News) - After three days of public silence, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil delivered a decision that could define his time in office — his government won't amend the Boat Harbour Act, forcing the impending closure of Northern Pulp's effluent facility by the end of January.

The move keeps a promise McNeil made to a First Nation almost five years ago, and ends what he and members of his government have referred to as one of the province's worst examples of environmental racism.

But it also forces the closure of Northern Pulp, the largest player in the province's forestry sector. Without being able to use Boat Harbour to treat its effluent, the Pictou County mill is unable to operate, and could kill as many as 2,700 forestry-related jobs.

"The company has had five years and any number of opportunities to get out of Boat Harbour, and at this point we're nowhere close to that," he said Friday. "That's not on us. That's the decision the company has made."

McNeil announced a $50-million transition fund to help those in the forestry sector affected by the decision. The work will be managed by three government departments and the Nova Scotia Community College, and McNeil made a pledge to workers in the sector.

Brian Baarda, CEO of Northern Pulp parent company Paper Excellence, told reporters the decision not to extend the Boat Harbour deadline to allow the mill to remain open was a shock to the company and its employees.

"This decision ensures the closure of Northern Pulp [and] the devastation of Nova Scotia's forest industry," he said.

Baarda said the company put together what it believed was an excellent plan for a replacement treatment facility that should have been enough to gain approval from the province's environmental regulator.

Instead, he planned to meet with the 350 mill workers later in the day, where counselling was being provided, and layoff and contract cancellation notices would begin going out.

The complete story is available on CBC News website:
» Northern Pulp Plans to Shut Down Nova Scotia Mill After Premier Refuses to Grant Extension