Erin Brockovich takes interest in Pictou County concerns

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Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corp.

Concerns about the ill effects of the Northern Pulp mill have attracted the interest of American activist Erin Brockovich.

Brockovich reports on her website that she is receiving high numbers of inquiries from people in Pictou County who are concerned that the excessive rate of cancer and respiratory illness in their community could be attributable to environmental contamination caused by the emissions from Northern Pulp.

“I am in discussions with my environmental engineer team about this issue and we will respond once we have more knowledge,” Erin Brockovich states.

The concerns have long been talked about locally, with a Facebook group even formed to push for the clean up of it.

Resident Matt Gunning is one of the people pushing for the clean up.

“We’d always talk about the mill and the uneasy feeling about it,” Gunning told The News last week. “We’ve all kind of been hit with cancer so it makes you think.”

Brockovich is famous for her persistance in constructing a case against Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Her efforts were made known in a movie with Julia Roberts playing her. 


The News has run other stories about concerns recently as well.

Geographic location: Pictou County, Northern Pulp

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Recent comments

  • Jane Thomson
    September 09, 2014 - 10:10

    Brockovich was invited by the over-5000-strong members of the FB group, Clean Up the Pictou County Mill, to become involved, and she has done so free of charge. On the other hand, the Indonesian and other owners of the Mill have cost us, to date, hundreds of millions of direct taxpayer grants and loans plus the free infrastructure, including the disposal facility at Boat Harbour (which we taxpayers are totally responsible for), free forest lands, over 78 million litres of fresh water daily taken out of the West River (which the taxpayers kindly dammed for the Mill) just goes on and on. Those 200 jobs have cost us a fortune and will cost us another fortune to clean up afterwards. Boat Harbour is another Tar Ponds.

  • Boomer
    September 03, 2014 - 17:21

    Lose some jobs or allow the death of many people, as well killing our wildlife and sealife. And how can we forget how UGLY that stinkhole is. A complete embarrassment to this community. I cannot believe that in this day and age, that polluting monster is accepted by the government and how its demise is shuffled around like a deck of cards. SHAMEFUL.

  • Realist
    August 05, 2014 - 08:20

    Don't you people realize that closing the mill will close this whole county. We have nothing left here! Stop complaining. Then there's no hope in hell cleaning up the harbour. If we shut down everything the First Nations wanted us to, we have no income to keep giving them. Keep it open. Keep this county afloat.

  • Just Putting it out there
    August 04, 2014 - 21:51

    I have recently moved to Pictou County and really enjoy living here and enjoy the sense of pride that the people have about their community here. I would hate to see people lose more jobs In this county but why can't they just fix fix the mill like most others in this country and salvage the jobs? Whats the point of having laws and legislation in place for pollution if the government does nothing about it when a company is clearly over their limit? Like I said I don't want to see more job loss but I enjoy my health and I want to raise my son in a healthy environment, I moved back here as i was in toronto as I thought it was the right decision for me and my family because of the quality of life and now living here is worse than a major city. Is anyone taking into account how many people are moving away because of this. How many people don't move here at all because of it ? And how many tourists never come back a second time or ever at all because of what they have heard or read about it.? The county is going to lose economically whether the mill remains opened or closed so why not at least come out on top healthy and try to reduce the medical bills associated with this mess. If people live longer they will put money back into pictou county longer and the province would have less medical bills. i would rather be poor and healthy then be rich with cancer at age 45, then have to take time of work with reduced pay and miss my sons graduation, and leave my family with bills because I'm 6 feet under 40'years before I should of been, but hey that's just me, and that's why I'm probably going to move out of pictou and area as soon as I get a chance even though I just got here and like it.

  • Isabel
    August 24, 2013 - 13:42

    It is not only the pulp mill that has to be investigated, a good research of the pollution coming from th NSPC would not hurt.

  • Mill Supporter
    August 08, 2013 - 08:26

    You people amaze me. If it's not one thing, it's another! You will never be happy!If we close the mills, hundreds of people will loose their jobs! Yes, there are negatives to mills, but are there not negatives to everything??? Mills give people jobs, and give us the necessities we need to survive! If the mills close, you people will complain about being poor and having no jobs! I will ALWAYS stand behind the mills, as they have given my family the finances we have today. Mills keep us going, people! Transportation busineses, and warehouses. Open your eyes people, and learn to appreciate what you have! ALWAYS SUPPORTING THE MILLS!

    • Permaculture Goddess
      June 17, 2014 - 11:31

      We the people do not need the mills in any way for jobs. That is a mind-set, a perception, a lense which you view through. It was conditioned into you to give your power away to "the man" to take care of you. You think of yourself as a powerless vicitm, but you are not. You are co-creator and your beliefs, your feelings, your heart and your voice have significant power! They are creating your version of reality. Luckily there is still time to create a different way. One in which we provide for ourselves and share with our communities, not out of greed but out of necessity and authenticity. As we become self-empowered, in a spiritual way, we use our natural gifts and talents to create self-employment. We provide our own necessities or commune with others to cooperate. We Barter and Build, Independently. We the youth provide for our elders as they have provided for us. We choose NO to the mills, we re-invent and find a better way, and we longer need them. It is the way of nature and nature still lives within the human, so it will never be wiped out. ALWAYS SUPPORTING THE MILLS will be wiped out, likely of cancer, by the THE LAWS OF NATURE. Good bye. May the power of LOVE be with you, each and every one. You are Nature and she is your mother. Work with her and you will triumph! Permaculture, check it out!

    • Fed up
      August 04, 2014 - 18:42

      Ya sure buddy, I am sure the business or lack of in Pictou are supporting the mill. If the mill closes then Pictou will boom. The tourists will come back as well as new business to service them. No one is coming to Pictou right now because of the stench that you support. Its killing the town. I bet you work there or have a pension from the mill. Maybe you should withdraw it and put it in something else because THE PEOPLE are fed up. If the mill really cared about Pictou and the surrounding area and had done some progressive planning they would of fixed this problem long ago.

  • Ellen
    August 07, 2013 - 08:20

    Having lived in 9 Canadian provinces, & though the land looks beautiful, the pollution from the Northeast Pulp & Paper Mill is awful! Certainly have had more respiratory problems & witnessed more sickness & deaths in this Pictou County area since moving here just a couple of years ago. Although politicians usually wash their hands of the pollution issues both federally & provincially, the facts are there...Certainly is true that you have to keep your windows closed & keep the A/C on during most summer days in this area...Feels like I am still living in some of Canada's major cities!

  • PLFN Resident
    August 06, 2013 - 19:21


    • Why?
      August 08, 2013 - 09:17

      I hope the First Nations are willing to support the families of the good paying jobs that would be lost if they closed the mill. I am sure there is lots left from the 35+ million dollars they receieved.

  • Sam
    August 06, 2013 - 14:26

    Times must be slow for Miss Brockovitch!

  • PC victim.
    August 06, 2013 - 13:33

    CLOSE down the Northern Pulp mill and the poor town of Pictou.

  • just thinking
    August 06, 2013 - 13:20

    with all this bs going on I can see the owners of the mill pulling up stakes and moving on .or the taxpayers will be on the hook to clean it up.for those ones complaining must not have a job .

    • Just thinking about farts
      August 04, 2014 - 16:11

      Shouldn't the mill be giving jobs to everyone not working? Isn't that why you love it so much? Because of jobs? It is probably impossible to learn a new skill set.

  • Pictou Resident
    August 06, 2013 - 12:46

    Thank goodness for the current interest in the effects of the pulp mill on the residents of Pictou especially. I was diagnosed with breast cancer this past spring, and understand that Pictou County has the higher cancer rates of any province. Imagine on a stiffling hot, humid night or day living in Pictou and having to close your windows because any breeze you DO get is carrying the mill smell as a fog descends on your area of the town. Sometimes you can barely see the town from the causeway because of the smog. It's time to put a stop to it.

  • Just saying
    August 06, 2013 - 12:01

    We are trying to close the barn after the horse is already gone. The emissions from the mill are minimal compared to years gone by, and the Boat Harbour situation improved greatly since the mill took over the treatment from the province. It is good to stay on them but, we have bigger problems. We are the tail pipe of North America. Anything from Upper Canada or New England is blown through the Maritimes. Most of the acid rain and carcinogens come from our neighbours. I was surprised when I saw that in cleaning up the Tar Ponds we transport the sludge to Quebec them we incinerate it ??? Instead of having it done here?? Just one of many bad ideas, when we don't like the smell of something!

  • Spud Peters
    August 06, 2013 - 11:33

    Jamie Baillie will be upset, he says that's the smell of bologna coming out of those stacks.

  • Jessie
    August 06, 2013 - 11:15

    Wow,I am amazed at the who's who bucket list of whiners,When will Pamela Anderson be called to the front lines as she was in Save The Wales,oops I meant Whales,get over it people,the government ,both federal and provincial has given all our tax dollars to the Landing group that was necessary,no more handouts,ask the ones who already got their palms greased to foot the bill for any more studies!!!

  • It's about time
    August 06, 2013 - 10:12

    The emissions from that place always made me uneasy! So much that I moved away from New Glasgow. I hate visiting both Pictou and New Glasgow as the smog from that place is disgusting! The cancer rates in Pictou County are beyond unreal...... I am extremely plesaed to see that it is now being looked into!!!!