A sober but hopeful start to the New Year 1Jan2020

Premier McNeil’s announcement Dec 20, 2019 that he would be honouring the Boat Harbour Act, and Northern Pulp’s announcement that they would close The Mill mark a historic transition on several fronts.

The sober part is the direct loss of jobs in rural areas and further indirect effects on the rural economy in NS.

I think all Nova Scotians are empathetic to the stresses that is causing to many individuals,  families and communities; it was written on the face and in the voice and words of Premier McNeil when he made the announcement, and likewise on the face and in the voice and words of Chief Andrea Paul (re: CBC, Dec 20, 2019)

The hopeful part is that it means we have an opportunity to ‘get it right’ this time around, and come up with alternatives to The Mill that do not compromise our environment but do provide  sustainable livelihoods based on our forests.

It is also incredibly opportune as it is at exactly this juncture that the world seems to be coming to grips with the reality of climate warming, biodiversity losses and environmental degradation more generally;  we Nova Scotians could really carry  our weight in regards to mitigating climate and biodiversity decline change by making fundamental changes in the way we view and manage our forests.
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Nova Scotia Premier McNeil keeps commitment to Pictou Landing First Nation to close Boat Harbour mill effluent treatment facility, Northern Pulp mill will shut down 20Dec2019

“In 2015, I made a commitment to clean up Boat Harbour and I am honouring that commitment today. Now, I am making a commitment to the workers of the mill and the forestry sector throughout Nova Scotia that we will be here for you in this transition – and make no mistake, I will honour that commitment as well.” – News Release

As reported on CBC*:
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*Northern Pulp plans to shut down Nova Scotia mill after premier refuses to grant extension By Michael Gorman for CBC News Dec 20, 2019

After three days of public silence, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil delivered a decision that could define his time in office — his government won’t amend the Boat Harbour Act, forcing the impending closure of Northern Pulp’s effluent facility by the end of January.
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Posted in Mi'kmaq, Post NP mill, Pulp & Paper, Social Media, Social Values | Comments Off on Nova Scotia Premier McNeil keeps commitment to Pictou Landing First Nation to close Boat Harbour mill effluent treatment facility, Northern Pulp mill will shut down 20Dec2019

Don Wilson: a recent Supreme Court ruling says volumes about the Northern Pulp Mill’s future 18Dec2019

Screen capture from Supreme Court of Canada webpage (click on image to go to the page)

Received today from Don Wilson, who has written many op-eds about NS forestry in Saltwire publications (some cited on NSFN):

After the Pulp Mill

The Supreme Court of Canada web site has published it’s Dec 6, 2019 decision that says pulp mills are responsible for clean up of pollutant(s), not governments, irregardless of indemnity contracts previously given or signed.

That says volumes about the Northern Pulp Mill’s future.
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Posted in Pulp & Paper | Comments Off on Don Wilson: a recent Supreme Court ruling says volumes about the Northern Pulp Mill’s future 18Dec2019

Nova Scotia Premier delays news conference on Boat Harbour until Dec 20th (Friday) 18Dec2019

For what it’s worth, I take the Premier at his word on Boat Harbour

Also view:
Premier’s delay on Boat Harbour decision draws opposition ire
Michael Gorman for CBC News, Dec 18, 2019:

From News Release

Premier’s Office
December 18, 2019 – 9:52 AM

NOTE: The following is a statement from Premier Stephen McNeil in response to the Minister of Environment’s decision on Northern Pulp’s proposed effluent treatment plant.

I would like to thank the regulator, Minister Wilson and his team for their hard work on the Northern Pulp file. According to the regulator, Northern Pulp has provided some of the scientific evidence required, but not enough, meaning more work would need to be done.
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Posted in Pulp & Paper | Comments Off on Nova Scotia Premier delays news conference on Boat Harbour until Dec 20th (Friday) 18Dec2019

Live: Nova Scotia rules on mill’s plan to pump effluent into Northumberland Strait 17Dec2019

CBC: “That means the matter will run squarely into the terms of the Boat Harbour Act”…Premier scheduled to address reporters tomorrow (Wed Dec 18, 2019)

“All decisions I will make will be based on science”. Many questions about poss. extension of Boat harbour. The Minister: “Decisions made on Boat Harbour are not made within this department”

UPDATE 4 pm Dec 17: Northern Pulp says company and Nova Scotia forestry industry in jeopardy following decision
The News (new Glascow), Dec 17, 2019.

An Environmental Assessment and the continued operations of Northern Pulp require an extension to the Boat Harbour Act,” he [Brian Baarda, CEO, Paper Excellence Canada] said. “Until we have a decision on the extension of the Boat Harbour Act, the future of Northern Pulp and Nova Scotia’s Forestry Sector remain in jeopardy.

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Posted in Pulp & Paper | Comments Off on Live: Nova Scotia rules on mill’s plan to pump effluent into Northumberland Strait 17Dec2019

Moving Beyond Lahey: can Nova Scotia participate in a “Global Deal for Nature”? 14Dec2019

In the context of the messages coming from COP25, the Lahey Recommendations are too little and their implementation by L&F far too tardy

Who knows what forces caused the beautiful contortions of this now old red maple?  It seems to express both the beauty and anguish of our natural world – including Homo sapiens – in 2019

Today (Sat Dec14, 2019):

The COP25 Climate negotiations in Madrid are set to continue today as countries are reported to be struggling to find common ground on issues related to finance and ambition.

The two week summit was supposed to conclude yesterday but many issues remain unresolved.

…The summit is meant to decide on rules for the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

The summit in Madrid arrives on the heels of climate-related disasters across the planet, including unprecedented cyclones, deadly droughts and record-setting heatwaves.

…The UN said this month that in order for the world to limit warming to 1.5C, emissions would need to drop over seven percent annually to 2030, requiring nothing less than a restructuring of the global economy.

In fact, they are currently rising year-on-year, and have grown four percent since the Paris deal was signed.

COP25 climate negotiations set to continue in Madrid
On RTE (Ireland’s National Television and Radio Broadcaster) Dec 14, 2019

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I have found it challenging to write this blog over most of 2019; too much of the news around forests and forestry has been negative and even the best that we might achieve by fully implementing the Lahey recommendations appears far too inadequate to address the dual challenges of climate warming and biodiversity losses.
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Islanders are asking the right questions about biomass heating 23Nov2019

Curved arrows represent biologically mediated flows of GHGs: the straight arrow, industrial emissions of GHGs; and the symbols at bottom right, long term sequestration of carbon in the oceans. Carbon dioxide is the most important GHG in relation to forestry.

PEI’s use of wood for heating public buildings has been cited as a model we should follow here. From the Lahey Report(Aug 21, 2019):

Conclusion 7: Some say that harvesting trees for energy production, sometimes called biomass harvesting particularly when done for production of electricity, is a mistake that should be stopped because of the forestry practices it is associated with, and because it is a low‐value use of trees (exacerbated by the chipping of high‐value trees for biomass), and because burning trees is an inefficient source of energy for electricity that does not qualify as “green.”

Conclusion 125: Following the example of successful projects in Prince Edward Island, DNR and other relevant agencies of the provincial government, along with municipal governments and regional development agencies, should work together with project developers to bring small‐scale wood‐energy projects, particularly for heating, online in the western region for public buildings such as hospitals, schools, government office buildings, and correctional facilities.
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“Nova Scotia Needs Forestry” 21Nov2019

So reads a sign being distributed by Forest Nova Scotia. Reads the post on the ForestNS website:

You may have recently seen a lawn sign or a bumper sticker with the message ‘Nova Scotia Needs Forestry’ on it, and wondered “What does that mean?”

We’ve been talking with our members and others involved in forestry, and got the feeling it was time to show a little pride in our sector – together.

There’s many reasons why people take pride in their connection to forestry: they may be small woodlot owners, may work for a mill, harvest maple syrup or Christmas trees, be involved in silviculture, or own a business that works with a forestry business…the list is endless.
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“So many clearcuts” in SW Nova Scotia (continued) 20Nov2019

And with no Landscape Level Planning for Biodiversity Conservation and No Nutrient Management on the severely depleted soils

The feelings many Nova Scotians have expressed when they return to a site where once stood a mature forest and now a sloppy clearcut as at Higgins Mt are universal (View video). The [bad] feelings are compounded by rising global concern over climate change and biodiversity losses.

Update Nov 21, 2019: Fortunately Jennifer Henderson at the Halifax Examiner spotted an error in the latest WestFor interim Agreement which would have given WestFor a 28% increase in its SW Nova Scotia wood allocation when there was supposed to be no increase, and now L&F is re-writing the Agreement. View Bad math at Lands & Forestry by Jennifer Henderson for the Halifax Examiner (Nov 21, 2019)
Also on Nov 201, 2019: Environmentalists say logging companies are rushing clearcuts near Lake Deception before new forest regulations come into effect
by Jennifer Henderson for the Halifax Examiner “Environmental groups are pushing back against three proposed cuts in a rural area near Lake Deception north of Shelburne. The cuts are on Crown land allocated to 13 companies in the WestFor group, which includes Northern Pulp, Louisiana Pacific, Ledwidge Lumber, and Harry Freeman & Sons. These “variable retention” cuts (a forest industry euphemism for…”

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In a few words and photos, the author of the blog My Acadian Forest paints a devastating image of  forest degradation along the backroads of Lunenburg County.

The fall colours were stunning, so many beautiful lakes, hilltop farms, gorgeous old stone work.

And clearcuts.

So many clearcuts.

…I appreciate that we need forestry.  I live in a wooden house.  And neighbours work in the sector.

But is this kind of cutting sustainable?  Please, let me know.

Because from the seat of my vehicle, it looks like its going fast.

Read more of  ‘Scenic Drives’ by Tom Rogers.

I guess much of what T.R.  is seeing is on Private Lands, where Nova Scotians have the right to conduct major environmental alterations with no EA (Environmental Assessment) or even a forest harvest PTA (Pre-Treatment Assessment as required on Crown lands).
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CTV News on Hemlock Wooly Adelgid in Keji Park, Nova Scotia & social media on moving wood and hemlock nostalgia 14Nov2019

Thanks, CTV & Keji Park,  for an informative video about HWA in NS, especially given the apparent lack of effort by Lands and Forestry and Big Forestry to raise awareness around it

Click on image to go to the CTV video (4 min, after ads)

“Enjoy them now”, says Maria Panopolis introducing CTV’s News’ Nov 8, 2019 piece on the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA, aka the Hemlock Vampires). Co-host Jason Baxter continues: “We travelled to one of the hardest hit areas, Kejimkujik National Park where ecologists like Matthew Smith are racing against time.”

Dr. Smith explains that hemlock are an iconic tree at Keji; the oldest stands in the park are hemlock. It changes the environment, making it darker and cooler, providing shade for streams; he guesses the oldest trees are 2-300 years old. They survived hurricanes and other pest infestation, but HWA is a real problem for them.

He goes on to provide an illustrated description of HWA, how it infests trees…what symptoms to look for.
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