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LETTER: Keep an open mind about Northern Pulp

After reading recent comments about the Northern Pulp effluent pipeline I understand the concern of citizens and the fishermen who love the ocean and make it their life. I respect what you do.

The long-term viability of the fishery is something we should all be concerned about. First off the effluent has always gone out to the strait for the last 50 years, now it is being proposed to do it in a different manner, with a pipeline versus current. Anybody having doubts about the delignification upgrade can easily google and read for themselves the improvements created by that. I know prior to retiring many projects were afoot and some already done around decreasing water usage.

A lot has been said about reusing effluent being corrosive to equipment in the plant such as boilers, pumps/motors etc. Saltwater from the ocean would act similar. The rhetoric of an unlimited chemical budget with crazy people irresponsibly poisoning the environment at the pulp mill is ridiculously out of touch with reality. Operators are very conscious of what goes to sewer and chemical reduction is smart business.

As a former employee I would not want the water I prepare food in or shower and rinse my eyes with to be effluent any more than I would want the effluent from treatment systems from the towns be recycled into their reservoir systems. From what I understand Pictou still puts 60 per cent of their raw sewage directly to harbour. Who knows what comes down the St. Lawrence flowing through the strait. My point is Northern Pulp and its predecessors have continually been under the federal levels for Boat Harbour and will continue to be again if this goes through too. The issue of effluent having no salt should have arisen where pipelines are in use, so answers should be available.

I believe it would be a mistake to shut down the mill and cause hardships for not just direct employees and indirect stakeholders but also local businesses and employees. Just ask people from communities where they lost large employers. Back in 1982 when we were on strike with Trenton employing about 2,000 and Michelin in its heyday, Maritime Steel and Scotsburn Dairy all big employers, there were groups formed to try and get us back to work. It was a very stressful time as people were fearful of losing their homes and businesses with the economy so slow due to the strike. Imagine today with a scaled-back version of Michelin, the only one of those still around. We have even seen the unthinkable of Sobeys laying off. It would tear apart families, friendships and communities if it happens.

Moving on from Boat Harbour is a major improvement. Going forward, fishermen and people passionate about the environment, their voices are still needed to push for improvements and not just at NP.

I just hope people use respect and have an open mind to the facts and ramifications of this decision.

Ian Campbell

New Glasgow

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