To the editor,
Nova Scotians continue calling for a federal environmental assessment of Northern Pulp’s effluent treatment plant proposal. And well they should, if only for the more thorough review than what the province is leaning toward in a Class 1 assessment.
Furthermore, as many have noted, the province has no credibility on this file. It is dealing from the top and bottom of the deck: both funder, on behalf of the taxpayer, and alleged environmental caretaker – a stark conflict of interest.
Even if the science behind the project does add up in theory, as the company contends, can the public be assured the treatment facility would operate efficiently 100 per cent of the time? Consider the track record. Even with upgraded air emissions technology the mill failed on occasions to meet targets. It has had leaks in the current effluent system.
Despite failures, the plant faces little to no consequences. Is it any wonder people are skeptical about the potential performance of a new effluent disposal system – and of any likelihood the province would monitor effectively or hand out penalties for shortcomings?
People believe a provincial assessment would be a slam dunk. But is there any indication a federal assessment, even if more stringent, would likely nix the project?
Let’s imagine that good sense prevails and we end up with a federal assessment. And what if it does get the green light? Would a federal stamp of approval satisfy concerns of fishermen and other opponents of the effluent treatment plan? I’d be surprised if it did.
Just thought we should at least acknowledge this particular elephant in the room.