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Federation of NS Woodland Owners raise mill concerns

November 19 2014

The New Glasgow News

Published on November 19, 2014


STEWIACKE – The Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners is expressing its concern around the current situation at Northern Pulp.

The Federation  believes that while Northern Pulp’s operations are crucial to a wood lot owner’s forest management, it doesn’t mean the mill shouldn't be taking measure to assess environmental issues. 

In a release, the federation noted that while they acknowledge the mill’s negative environmental effects and emissions on Pictou County residents and the local tourism industry, they’re also concerned about the negative effects a potential mill closure would have on the more than 30,000 Nova Scotians who own family woodlots.

John MacDougall, the federation’s executive director, noted the board of directors wanted to give a glimpse into how a potential mill closure would affect woodlot owners.

“We’ve heard about jobs at the mill and the trucking industry would be affected so we wanted to be sure that our story was told as well.”

The release noted several media reports that have indicated that the mill is well over acceptable pollution standards.

“Frustrated citizens have finally demanded action. For its part, the mill is intending to install new emission controls in May of 2015; however, for some, that isn’t soon enough,” the release read.

MacDougall is careful to note that the majority of woodlot owners acknowledge that Northern Pulp has several issues that need to be addressed.

“It’s a controversial topic,” he said. “I’ve stood in Pictou and it’s not pleasant. I don’t wish it on anyone.”

The federation said that a perfect storm of circumstances over the last 10 years has spelled disaster for the forestry industry and the rural economy, which directly impacts individual woodlot owners.

The federation estimates that, currently, 65 per cent of Northern Pulp’s annual harvest is sold to and supplies roughly one-third of their provincial sawmill requirements. Northern Pulp in turn buys back over $80 million dollars worth of sawmill chips and hog fuel produced as a byproduct from our sawmills. 

“The mill is a crucial player in interconnected with our many sawmills, harvesting contractors, truckers and woodlot owners,” said MacDougall. “Since the Bowater Mersey closure, the distance for woodlot owners to truck their pulp wood has grown and makes it harder for them.”

With few market alternatives for sawmill chips, DNR has estimated that at least 3,500 jobs in trucking, harvesting and sawmilling could be affected if Northern Pulp closes.

The release argues that those job losses won’t only affect Pictou County but will likely be spread across rural communities, where sawmills and forestry provide significant employment.

“We share the concerns of our fellow Nova Scotians and urge Northern Pulp and our provincial government to work toward a solution of the mill's current problems,” the federation stated. “One that respects our citizens personal health, the environment, preserves jobs and maintains markets now available to producers of pulpwood, chips and other forms of wood fibre.”


Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners
PO Box 358, Brookfield, Nova Scotia
B0N 1C0

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Phone Toll Free 1-844-WOOD-LOT (1-844-966-3568)

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