Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corp. has indicated there was an incident with a moisture switch that released total reduced sulfur compounds (TRS) from the mill on June 12. The Department of Environment is investigating. ADAM MACINNIS – THE NEWS
Matt Gunning of the group Clean up the Pictou County Pulp Mill, which has over 3,100 members, has been gathering and compiling questions about Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation for the Department of Environment.
A list of questions posed to the department, almost 60 in total, has been posted to the Facebook group.
Gunning and a few of the page’s administrators met with officials on Aug. 27.
“We went into a quick overview of our questions,” said Gunning. “They’ve agreed to respond in writing.”
According to Gunning, this makes it easier to share with the members of the Facebook group first then on to anyone in the county.
The meeting was also a chance to talk about what role the department plays in the monitoring of environmental issues around the pulp mill.
“We certainly think there’s room for increased monitoring and holding of the mill to account,” said Gunning. “Overall, things went well and they’re open to working with us.”
He said that MLA Charlie Parker encouraged, facilitated and attended the meeting between the department and members of the Facebook group.
Gunning said the meeting likely went well because unlike Northern Pulp and its shareholders, the department is accountable to the public.
Mark Theriault, has been an inspector with the Department of Environment in Pictou for the past six years and was present at the meeting.
“The members of the Facebook group came in to get a better understanding of our role,” said Theriault. “We’ve committed to answer each question in writing by mid-September.”
Theriault, who has met with Northern Pulp on numerous occasions, said the department has various powers at its disposal to ensure compliance.
“The pulp mill has complied for the most part though there are some targets they’ve missed and we’ve issued directives,” he said. “If any other issues arise, we’ll enforce compliance.”
Theriault welcomed the meeting and hoped that greater understanding of the department and its rules will be achieved.
“It doesn’t hurt to have a dialogue with the public on these issues.”
On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn
A sample of the questions submitted to the Department of Environment by the Facebook group:
· How often are inspections of Northern Pulp conducted by the Department of Environment?
· Is the water that leaves the Boat Harbour treatment facility monitored provincially?
· How is the mill’s waste disposal monitored/enforced?
· When did the Department of Environment first become aware of the problem with the scrubber at Northern Pulp?
· Have wells in Pictou Landing been consistently tested for water quality?
· Has the Department of Environment ever fined Northern Pulp for any reason?
· Does the Department of Environment have the power to order a shut down for violations?