To the editor,
The air quality problem at Northern Pulp is certainly of major concern to our area. I have said previously that it is unacceptable to our communities. We all recognize – residents, government and the company – that we have a problem, particularly particulate. Our job now is to find solutions.
The mill has been issued a directive by the Department of Environment to clean it up. They must comply and will be held accountable. The company has responded with a number of initiatives, including hiring an environmental engineer to deal specifically with the problem and to formulate a plan to resolve the issue. They have completed a plan that identifies installing a new precipitator ($20 – 25 million cost). Because such a unit is not available off the shelf it requires a design and build-on-site proposal. I understand the company is now in the process of tendering for this. To ensure that this happens, the Government of Nova Scotia has issued a $12 million repayable loan that must be used for this project as previously announced.
I continue to dialogue with community members who have valid concerns about the air quality. I have had regular contact with the Facebook group, particularly Matt Gunning and Paul Gregory. I arranged a recent meeting for three of the group with representatives of the Department of Environment to get some answers on various questions including regulatory authority (both federal and provincial), monitoring, inspection procedures, directives, etc. These were in writing and soon will be responded to in writing. I am also working with the Facebook representatives to arrange a meeting for them with the mill management.
We have had good co-operation from all involved. Yes we recognize there is a serious problem. Our goal is not to close the mill but to work together to find the right solutions to clean up the Pictou County pulp mill. Our role now is to get this fast tracked as soon as possible.
NDP Candidate Pictou West