**** Media Release
Fishermen want Northern Pulp to release completed studies and reports
Pictou, NS: Fishermen’s organizations are concerned that Northern Pulp (NPNS) has not replied to their written request to share completed reports and studies relating to the company’s proposed new Effluent Treatment Facility.
“We emailed Northern Pulp over a week ago, requesting that they send us all completed studies and reports within 7 calendar days,” says Jamie Simpson, lawyer for the fishermen’s working group representing fishermen from Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick. “To date, we have not received a response.”
The fishermen’s letter noted that the terms of the Focus Report set by Nova Scotia Environment for Northern Pulp include the statement, “During the preparation of the Focus Report, it is strongly recommended that NPNS continues to engage with relevant stakeholders and the Mi’kmaq including Pictou Landing First Nation, and to share relevant studies and reports.”
“Northern Pulp says their focus report is 90% finished, but they have not yet shared any of this information with fishermen or the public,” says Simpson.
“For almost two years, fishermen’s organizations have asked for the composition of the treated effluent that Northern Pulp hopes to discharge into the Northumberland Strait and have not been given that information. If Northern Pulp now has that information, we are asking that they provide it to us,” says Simpson.
“We would also like to see the marine route proposed by NPNS, the exact location where treated effluent would be discharged, and the revised Receiving Water Study, including related survey information. This information is critical to understanding the potential impacts on the Northumberland Strait.”
The groups point out that Northern Pulp has stated that they will be ready to file the information required by the Focus Report by late September, 2019, now less than 4 weeks away. Northern Pulp’s website lists many required reports and studies as completed.
“There is a tremendous amount of information requested in the Focus Report. Allowing stakeholders more than the minimum 30 days to read and evaluate the large volume of information which Northern Pulp is assembling would make for a better process, and hopefully a better outcome,” says Simpson. “It appears that Nova Scotia Environment recognized this by recommending NPNS share information during the preparation of the Focus Report.”
Revisions to the federal Fisheries Act including improved protections for fish and fish habitat went into effect on August 28, 2019. “Our organizations were very pleased to see these protections restored,” says Allan MacCarthy of the Northumberland Fishermen’s Association. “We understand that Northern Pulp’s project will fall under the revised Fisheries Act, and we are interested to see how the additional protections are addressed by Northern Pulp.” The 4 km marine route for the effluent pipe submitted by Northern Pulp in January 2019 ran through a protected area for juvenile lobster as well as other species.
The fishermen’s letter also asks that Northern Pulp share all completed studies and reports with the public. “… we recommend that all completed studies and reports be made available to the public on your website. As you are aware, there is broad public concern about Northern Pulp’s proposed project, and there was unprecedented public input to the environmental assessment of the proposed project,” the groups wrote.