While we wait for the Independent Review of Forest Practices in Nova Scotia, Port Hawkesbury Paper hires ex-DNR forest bioenergy advocate

Government (post yesterday) and industrial forestry interests are hardly waiting for the Report from the Independent Review before going ahead with strategic decisions, it seems.

The latest: Former top bureaucrat at DNR lands job at Port Hawkesbury Paper (Aaron Beswick in the Chronicle Herald, Aug 14, 2018),

I wasn’t surprised, even if disappointed, when I read who PHP hired: Allan Eddy. In some form of musical chairs, top executives, amongst them Linda Pannozzo’s Company Men, move around between the forest industry, related Crown agencies or heavily government-dependent private entities, and the NS government, no matter the optics. (A variable: the number of chairs changes with the government of the day.)

I had noted on Dec 3, 2016 that Eddy’s move from NSDNR to Agriculture and Fisheries and Aquaculture was part of a A welcome change in NSDNR bureaucracy but then on May 11, 2018 noted that “Allan Eddy retains interests in biomass“.

PHP feeds and benefits from the biggest forest biomass energy facility in Nova Scotia, located at Port Hawkesbury but owned by NS Power, a deal brokered after  NewPage Port Hawkesbury declared bankruptcy and the Dexter government rushed to the rescue the industry in eastern NS with lucrative deals so good that the Chronicle Herald Business commentator wrote “The new owners of the former NewPage Port Hawkesbury paper mill must think they have died and gone to heaven”.(CH Sep 17, 2012)

Before Eddy’s NS government days – in DNR (as Associate Deputy Director Deputy) and then Agriculture and Fisheries and Aquaculture (as Associate Deputy Minister) and then in his final position at the Finance and Treasury Board (as Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives) before going back to industry, perhaps with a stint another department in there somewhere – he was the Senior Forester with Nova Scotia Power.

In DNR, Eddy was an unapologetic advocate/facilitator for PHP/NSP’s biomass operations. He made NS Forest Notes’ Quotable Quotes early on with this one:

“Nova Scotia Power has an obligation to its ratepayers to get wood fibre as cheaply as possible. The cheapest way is to clear land, not selectively harvest to improve the lot for the future.”
– Alan Eddy, Associate Deputy Minister of NSDNR and former senior forester with Nova Scotia Power after acknowledging that land was being cleared to feed the biomass boiler at Pt. Tupper, cited in the CH Jan 9, 2015.

The Chronicle Herald story cited there – Nova Scotia Power biomass project in Cape Breton raising green concerns – (also by Aaron Beswick) is worth re-reading for some other insights to Mr. Eddy’s perspectives.

Beswick had concluded “A rough industry average in northern Nova Scotia is that you get about 120 tonnes of wood fibre off a hectare. Divide 335,000 tonnes by 120 and you get 2,792 hectares getting cut every year for the foreseeable future to be burned for electricity in a furnace that works at about 74per cent efficiency”.

Eddy’s response: “You’ve got to be careful with averages,” Allan Eddy, associate deputy minister at the Natural Resources Department, warned Thursday. “If you shoot two feet in front of a duck and then two feet behind a duck, on average that duck is dead.”

The article describes how the PHP/NSP biomass operation was laying waste to the land to feed the biomass boiler and making it difficult for smaller sawmills to access quality hardwoods, a topic Aaron Beswick further pursues in the Aug 14, 2018 article. Beswick also lays out some of  the clear conflicts of interest  when top level people move between government and industry.

“Politically he’d [Allan Eddy] be well connected,” said Peter Christiano, who says being locked out of access caused  Finewood’s 2014 closure.

“That’s what (the mills) do. They get a hold of old politicians who know who to talk to, how to say it and how to get around.”

Northern Pulp’s ties with the province’s ruling class are also tight.

The chair of its board of directors is former premier John Hamm.

During his term (1999-2006) the province signed a renewal of the lease with the kraft pulp mill for the Boat Harbor waste treatment facility behind the Pictou Landing First Nation.

That lease puts the province on the hook for continuing to provide a destination for the mill’s effluent until 2030 or compensating its owners financially if it forces the closure of Boat Harbour.

Meanwhile the mill’s former lawyer on issues of environmental compliance, Bernie Miller, now serves as the province’s deputy minister of both strategy management and business.

Oh shoot. I thought McNeil was going to clean a lot of this stuff up. I guess he stopped direct handouts but  the indirect support of Industrial Forestry sure continues.

From my perspective, PHP’s hiring of Allan Eddy is a clear signal they (PHP), and perhaps or probably other industrial forestry interests in NS, want to go on playing the same old game and are guessing that the Independent Review will do little to change the game.

I guess you can’t blame PHP. They have  pretty sweet deals, between their FULA agreement, biomass agreements, payments for silviculture work (to “improve our forests” [for future harvests]), grants and contributions from NSDNR totalling $4,083,275.15 in 2018 (re: Public Accounts) and while they promote their FSC Certification, when push comes to shove as it did this spring with respect to cutting of Old Growth, they blame it all on NSDNR, FSC Certification apparently irrelevant to their practices.

Then there is the whole matter of burning  primary forest biomass (roundwood) for energy for which  the form response from our NSE Climate Change expert to queries about associated GHG generation  is

…Nova Scotia follows international and national standards for greenhouse gas accounting and we have no immediate plans to review those standards. Past actions have resulted in our provincial greenhouse gas emissions declining by 30% below 2005 levels, making us one of the national leaders in that respect. This is something all Nova Scotians can be proud of.”(View Post, July 27, 2018)

Eddy’s duck math will fit well into that scenario.

shopify analytics ecommerce

This entry was posted in Biomass, Forest Certification, NSDNR, Pulp & Paper. Bookmark the permalink.