Nova Scotia

Legal pause between Northern Pulp, N.S. government extended

The pause on legal wrangling between the Nova Scotia government and Northern Pulp is being extended, but it’s unclear for how long.

It's unclear how long the pause will remain in place

The Northern Pulp mill in Abercrombie Point, N.S., as seen in 2019. The mill ceased operations at the end of January 2020. (Robert Short/CBC)

The pause on legal wrangling between the Nova Scotia government and Northern Pulp is being extended, but it's unclear for how long.

A spokesperson for the province says that the two-month pause, which was scheduled to go until early August, has been extended following a recommendation by a court-appointed mediator and the monitor assigned to Northern Pulp's creditor protection file.

At Province House on Tuesday, Justice Minister Brad Johns said the province considered the move "a measure of good faith," but declined to provide more details.

"I really can't say too much because it's still in the courts," he said.

The pause between the two parties started in June amid increased tensions and relates to a variety of matters.

Multiple pending court actions

Northern Pulp has an application before the courts for a judicial review of the terms of reference for its provincial environmental assessment related to a proposed new effluent treatment facility and overhaul of its bleached kraft pulp mill in Abercrombie, N.S.

The company is also suing the province for $450 million in damages related to the government's decision to end Northern Pulp's lease to use Boat Harbour to treat effluent 10 years before the lease was to expire.

The former Liberal government made that decision as part of the Boat Harbour Act, legislation that closed the former tidal estuary to effluent as of the end of January 2020.

Northern Pulp has long pushed for settlement talks between the two sides. A British Columbia Supreme Court justice ordered the two sides into non-binding mediation earlier this year, a move the Nova Scotia government opposed.

A spokesperson for the company said on Tuesday the mediation effort between the two sides continues.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Gorman is a reporter in Nova Scotia whose coverage areas include Province House, rural communities, and health care. Contact him with story ideas at michael.gorman@cbc.ca

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