Pictou West Progressive Conservative MLA Karla MacFarlane says it’s unacceptable for the Liberal government to tell Pictou County residents to wait almost a year for a plan to ensure their air is clean and the environment protected.
“Every day, I hear more residents raise concerns about their health and more local businesses tell me that sales and opportunities are being lost. This is an emergency situation. Residents are fed up,” says MacFarlane. “To come to Pictou County, just to tell residents to wait until June 2015 for action is unacceptable. We need and deserve a plan to protect Pictou residents now, not a year from now.”
MacFarlane zeroed in on emissions from the Northern Pulp Mill, which are often in excess of legal limits.
“It is unfair to expect Pictou residents to pay for this situation indefinitely, with their health and livelihoods,” says MacFarlane. “Allowing the mill to exceed legal emission limits is just as much of a subsidy to its operations as handing out taxpayer cash.”
MacFarlane points out that the Liberals promised to stop NDP corporate handouts, but are now simply providing subsidies in another way.
“We all want good jobs here, but they have to be sustainable, financially and environmentally,” says MacFarlane.
Pictou East MLA Tim Houston says the Liberals and the mill have to do better.
“The mill can do better and it is the responsibility of the government to make sure they do. That means making sure the mill is compliant with legal emission requirements as soon as possible,” says Houston. "I know the mill is taking steps to try to get better, but the fact is the Liberals could make them move faster."
Pictou Centre MLA Pat Dunn says a competent government would come forward with a plan today and not wait until 2015.
“We want to protect Pictou County jobs and the best way to do that is to promote a clean, healthy Pictou County, with good sustainable jobs,” says Dunn. “After all we have been through together, Pictou County residents deserve nothing less.”