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Province must strike balance between Northern Pulp, environment

April 30 2015

CHRONICLE HERALD READER’S CORNER: 

Published April 29, 2015 - 5:05pm  

I am writing to express my concern over some of the conditions in Northern Pulp’s recent Industrial Approval Permit that appear to be causing the new owner, Paper Excellence of Canada,to question its long-term commitment to this province.

Hundreds of companies, like my own, rely on business generated by Northern Pulp to not only help maintain our viability but allow for an environment where growth and an expansion is possible. In addition, being a private woodlot owner, I and many other woodlot owners rely on wood processing facilities such as Northern Pulp and its many sawmilling partners to provide markets for products from our woodlots. These products are generated from large investments of time and money by the landowner and supported by the faith that good markets will be available when needed.

I feel very strongly that Northern Pulp should meet all reasonable environmental requirements and was disappointed this summer to find out that particulate matter from its recovery boiler had exceeded acceptable levels. Living near the mill last summer, I couldn’t help being somewhat glad to see both the mill and the local community confront this issue and move ahead with an action plan to correct the problem.

I believe regulations must be reasonable and attainable for any business to function and compete in a global marketplace. As I review some of the conditions from its recent IA and see where Northern Pulp ranks among other similar operations across Canada in key performance indicators, I cannot help think that the environment minister has grossly missed the mark. I, as a business owner and member of a community, expect government departments to find the right balance of environmental, social and economic goals using the best science that is available.

Paper Excellence of Canada seems to be willing to invest in this mill in a significant way. I haven’t seen this since the times when Scott Paper Co. operated the mill many years ago. I was impressed with what the Paper Excellence representative had to say at the recent FPANS annual meeting. To find an owner like this, willing to invest in this pulp mill and compete in the global marketplace — a marketplace that has forced similar mills to shut down and turn communities into ghost towns — may be a rare thing. You don’t have to go very far to see the impacts of a mill closure.

I hope that everyone can work together to find the right solution for this facility. I hope for a future in Nova Scotia where my sons can live prosperous and healthy lives. A future where good jobs exist, jobs on which you can build a family. A future where government can provide services with a surplus budget and not strap the province with more debt to be absorbed by future generations. These jobs that Northern Pulp provide bring real revenue (export jobs) into Nova Scotia and are a key to our success as a province.

Marshall Bateman, ABL Timber Ltd., New Glasgow

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