Northern Pulp denied more access to Crown land
Nova Scotia pulp mill surprised by government's refusal
The Nova Scotia government says it has denied requests from Northern Pulp for more access to Crown land and financial assistance.
A spokeswoman for Premier Stephen McNeil said the Pictou County mill had asked to harvest an additional 500,000 green metric tonnes of fibre from Crown land.
McNeil told a business luncheon Thursday in Halifax that the mill's request was being turned down.
"Part of that ask was for the province to financially make a commitment to help transition that mill and we've said no," he said.
McNeil said the government is also refusing to fund an oxygen delineation project at the mill in Abercrombie at a cost of $27 million to $30 million.
Don Breen, the general manager of Northern Pulp, said the mill believed the government was still considering its request and he only learned otherwise through media reports.
"We've been working with the government and with sawmills to try to come up with a win-win for all of us around Crown allocation," he said.
"We were surprised that [McNeil] announced that today, because we thought we were still in discussions."
When asked whether the mill had also been seeking financial assistance, Breen said the mill is constantly in discussions with the government for various projects but it had not made any formal requests other than for the Crown land.
"It all happened through informal discussions. I wouldn't consider that a formal ask. To me the only formal ask we had was around the wood supply," said Breen.
McNeil responded: "They didn't fill out a form, didn't mean the ask was not in."
The premier said the government will honour a commitment made by the previous New Democratic government allowing Northern Pulp to harvest 125,000 green metric tonnes of fibre.
Breen said the mill will continue pressing the government for more access.
"We need fibre to survive," he said. "We will want to continue discussions with government and with the sawmills and see if we can continue the dialogue and come up with a solution here."