By: The Chronicle Herald
The Environment Department has received three appeals to the 2015 industrial approval for the Northern Pulp mill in Pictou County.
Thursday marked the deadline to file an appeal.
Appeals were submitted by the Pictou Landing First Nation, a community group called Clean the Pictou Air and Northern Pulp.
Environment Minister Randy Delorey, who said he hasn’t seen the appeals yet, has until June 9 to make a decision.
“It’s too early to make any comment as to any of the three,” the minister said Friday at Province House.
Delorey said legislation laying out a plan to close Boat Harbour, the site of the mill’s treatment lagoon, remains on track to be introduced during this sitting of Province House. The bill is being handled by the Internal Services Department, which is responsible for the property.
Internal Services Minister Labi Kousoulis said he hoped the legislation would be complete sometime next week.
When the industrial approval was first released in January it instantly drew criticism from the mill’s operators, who said the new parameters were too stringent and jeopardized the future of the mill.
Environmental advocates, meanwhile, argued the approval didn’t go far enough in trying to reduce the mill’s impact on air quality and water usage.
Delorey has said the changes, to be phased in over five years, bring the mill in line with similar operations in North America.
Appellants who disagree with the minister’s ruling can appeal to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. The industrial approval remains in effect in the meantime.
Delorey said the mill’s plan to install a new precipitator by the end of May is also on schedule.