Nova Scotia math: FOIPOP reveals PHP pays $3.1 million in stumpage fees, gets $4.4 million for silviculture

Government, industry won’t to release stats on returns from Crown Land harvests; similarly mum on composition of feedstocks for the PHP biomass boiler

Bob Bancroft has often said that in Nova Scotia we get next to nothing from Port Hawkesbury Paper and other mills for the wood they harvest on Crown land and may even be paying them for it.

But it’s hard to get at the truth of the matter because “Details of Department of Natural Resources price agreements with PHP [Port Hawkesbury Paper] remain cloaked in secrecy. On any documents released to the public, stumpage fees paid to government by PHP are heavily redacted .” (Bob Bancroft in COMMENTARY: Chipping our forests on the cheap, the Chronicle Herald Feb 6, 2018)

Some figures cited in Mill’s deal with province raises concern (Aaron Beswick for Chronicle Herald, May 25, 2018) provide a candela or two on PHP’s sweet deals.

In 2017 Port Hawkesbury Paper paid $3.1 million in stumpage fees to the province and was paid back $4.4 million for silviculture work.

The data was obtained by the Chronicle Herald through an access to information request.

The Department of Natural Resources and Port Hawkesbury Paper refuse to publish stumpage rates paid by the mill to the province for cutting on crown land despite the latter being a public resource, citing privacy concerns.

The operator of the Richmond County pulp mill also did not provide a breakdown of the silviculture work it had done in 2017 in exchange for the $4.4 million.

“Silviculture funding is an investment by the province in the future of Nova Scotia’s forests,” said Bevan Lock, spokesman for the mill.

That’s not what Peter Christiano calls it.

“That means basically the province is paying them to cut the wood,” said Christiano.

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Of course the silviculture work increases the amount of wood PHP would be able to take from a piece of Crown land the next time around thereby adding to their profits.

No wonder PHP and NSDNR don’t like to release the figures.

PHP, NSPI and NSgov are mum on composition of feedstocks for NSPI biomass boiler at Port Hawkesbury

Speaking of which, I am having a difficult time trying to get information on the composition of feedstocks for the biomass boiler at Port Hawkesbury.*

– Andrea Doucette, Forest Sustainability Specialist at Port Hawkesbury Paper: “Since PHP would not normally share the details of supply agreements that we have with others, I have shared your correspondence with Nova Scotia Power, so you may wish to contact them directly.”

– From Mr. Jason Hollet, Executive Director of Climate Change at Nova Scotia Environment: “The climate change team at NSE does not track feedstock for NSPI facilities, only CO2e emissions (another teams at NSE also tracks air emissions). For details on the feedstock, I suggest you contact NSPI directly. Sorry I couldn’t be of any help.”

– Responses from The Board at Nova Scotia Power Inc. (NSPI), and NSPI CEO Mark Sidebottom: nada, rien, nothing.

So much for transparency.


*The Request (sent 14 + days ago):

Can you send me some recent stats on the feedstocks for the NSPI biomass boiler in Point Tupper?

I want to make some calculations using the Bioenergy GHG (Greenhouse Gas) calculator developed by scientists with Natural Resources Canada, so I need data on the proportion of

– Stemwood (whole trees minus limbs, or with limbs pls specify)
– Harvest residues
– Salvaged wood
– Mill wastes

or further classified as you might have them.


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