P.E.I. can have input into Pictou mill's effluent plan, says N.S. environment minister
Iain Rankin was responding to letter from P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan
Nova Scotia's environment minister has fired back at P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan over his concerns about Northern Pulp's plans for a new effluent treatment facility at its mill in Pictou, N.S.
Environment Minister Iain Rankin responded Thursday to a letter from MacLauchlan that voiced the premier's disapproval of effluent being piped into the Northumberland Strait in 2020 when Northern Pulp upgrades its treatment system. Currently, effluent from the pulp mill goes into Boat Harbour, which feeds into the strait.
In the letter, sent to Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil and federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, MacLauchlan said he shares concerns from fishermen that an outflow pipe could have "unintended consequences" for local fisheries.
Speaking at the Nova Scotia legislature, Rankin said MacLauchlan is entitled to his opinions
"Effluent has been treated at the Boat Harbour site and it's been going into the Strait for the last 50 years," he said.
"Of course there are opportunities for people to express their opinion. There's a 30-day period for public submissions which includes anyone who lives in P.E.I. I've taken it upon myself to go out to Pictou County where I met with fishermen there and fishermen from P.E.I. have come over and I've spoken with them as well to hear their concerns and I look forward to the public to weighing in when the project is registered."
The mill — which is across the strait from eastern P.E.I. — is to submit an environmental assessment for its proposed treatment facility to the Nova Scotia Environment Department this summer.
Rankin said he will be asking Fisheries and Oceans Canada for its input once Northern Pulp registers the project, and the federal department could ask for a more fulsome environmental review if it believes there could be adverse impact on the fisheries.
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With files from The Canadian Press