Northern Pulp open house sessions & apparent behind-the-scenes-tactics apparently not working for them

It seems to come down to no pipe, no plant.

The effluent from the proposed new pulp effluent treatment plant would be released in the Northumberland Strait at approximately location X on the Google map above.
Click on image to enlarge (from Google Earth)

UPDATE Dec 12, 2017: DeMONT: Journalist, miners shabbily treated by big business by John Demont in the Chronicle Herald, Dec 12, 2017.
& in the same issue of the CH, a deAdder Editorial Cartoon; board members hold copies of The Mill, and their PR guy points to a graph of book sales on the smart board… “Here is where we at Northern Pulp tried to quash interest in this book”. (An earlier Bruce Mackinon ed cartoon featured a lobster in pot of pulp effluent.)

& Northumberland Fishermen’s Association will draft proposal opposing Northern Pulp’s proposed effluent treatment facility
Sam Macdonald in The News Dec 12, 2017

UPDATE Dec 12, 2017: Two items in the Chronicle Herald
Sales, interest in The Mill rise after Northern Pulp tries to suppress book Report by Francis Campbell

Northern Pulp: with public money comes accountability Columnist Opinion by Dan Leger

& this one a couple of days ago in The Guardian (PEI): P.E.I. fisherman says meeting increased concerns over effluent dump in Northumberland Strait by Jim Day Dec 8, 2017.
Three open houses held earlier this past week (Dec 4,5 & 6) to inform the public and specific stakeholder groups about the proposed new pulp mill effluent treatment seem not to have convinced the people whose livelihoods and homesteads are most directly affected that all is OK.

Nor did some of the Mill’s apparent behind-the-scenes tactics. Extracts from some of the responses in the local press are cited below.

First Nation, fishermen distrust Northern Pulp treatment plan
Francis Campbell in the Chronicle Herald Dec 8, 2017

There’s too much risk and not nearly enough trust to bring Northern Pulp’s plan for a new wastewater treatment facility to fruition, according to Andrea Paul, the chief of the Pictou Landing First Nation, and scores of fishermen and residents in Pictou County…Concerned Northumberland Strait fishermen met with the company on Monday and two public consultations were held on Tuesday and Wednesday. A 26-page handout and accompanying slides that were presented at all three meetings included a representation of four small bottles of treated mill effluent. The first, dark and murky, was labelled 1970s. The second was still dirty but clearer and supposedly came from the 1990s. A 2017 bottle was more diluted and a projected 2020 bottle was clear.
“That really bothered me,” Paul said, adding that the clear water is exactly what her people were promised in 1967 when the Boat Harbour plant was opened.
“And the future was clear. That’s exactly what our people were told back then. Everything would be great. To use that kind of imagery again, I felt it was rude. It was unsettling.
“Here we go again.”

Northumberland Strait in danger
Letter to the Editor of The Advocate, Dec 8, 2017 from B.M. Abercrombie:

Boat Harbour, ‘the tar ponds of Pictou County’, must be closed by 2020 with an “acceptable” alternative in place. (Oh, just a reminder, we the taxpayers, will foot much of the bill.) The mill is currently proposing a pipe to push over 90,000,000 litres of efluent directly into the Northumberland Strait… our Strait, our pride, our identity. Yes, you read correctly, that’s 90 million litres of treated effluent every single day. But rest easy, as NP assures us that if it is expelled intermittently throughout the day rather than all at once, all will be well below the surface. Our lobster, scallops, crab, herring, mackerel, etc, will live happily ever after, completely unaffected.
This is an insult to our intelligence. However, Northern Pulp is yet again courting our provincial government.
According to a source at the mill, pipe has already arrived at the mill for this project.

Pictou Lodge sees repercussions of lost Northern Pulp booking after comments The News Dec 9, 2017.

The Pictou Lodge has been penalized for not toeing Northern Pulp’s party line, says the resort’s general manager.
“I stood up in front of a large crowd and I spoke to the poor record that our local pulp mill has when it comes to environmental standards and their record of non-compliance,” Wes Surrett said of his comment at a Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia summit in Halifax in late November.
“It didn’t take any time and my phone was ringing with a representative from the mill that it had heard that I had made disparaging remarks about the mill in public and that was not OK with them,” Surrett said. “He demanded a letter of apology or else they’d be cancelling their Christmas party with us. I just said, ‘Well, I guess you’re cancelling your Christmas party. I’m not offering an apology for calling you out on your poor record.’ I knew when I opened my mouth, that when you speak out against things, there could be repercussions. But I’m quite willing to live with those.” – The News Dec 9, 2017

The lodge cancellation was also front page news in the Saturday Chronicle Herald print ed, the headline: Standing on Principle, Pictou GM Lodge refuses [to] apologize criticizing for mill; and the Bruce Mackinnon Editorial Cartoon shows a lobster being immersed in pulp mill effluent while an observer in a lab coat makes notes. The lobster comments “…frankly I would feel better if you boil it…”

Also in the Chronicle Herald, Saturday: Pulp friction grips Pictou once again
Column by gail Lethbridge

I place the blame for this tragedy squarely on the shoulders of the successive provincial governments that failed to uphold environmental standards and divided the people of Pictou County.

and under Voice of the People for Dec 9:

Frightened of the Facts, LL of Marshville

In essence, this is a debate that boils down to the economy vs. ecology. There are good-paying jobs in a region of the province that has seen many good-paying jobs disappear. The mill no longer employs as many people as it used to, but it is still a source of employment for a large number of residents who work either directly or indirectly for the operation.
Those who’d like to see the mill closed point to the environmental damage it has done and continues to do. They point out that tourism would flourish if not for the blot on the landscape and the particulate matter in the air.
You may disagree with either argument, but both are solid. In such circumstances, it is in the public’s interest that respectful debate take place — a free exchange of ideas. When ideas compete, generally the better idea wins out by swaying public opinion and finally, often slowly, government policy.

Pushing weight around, JM of Kentville

The management of Northern Pulp can be offended all they want. They can send out emails to employees and former employees in the hundreds. When they suggest recipients participate in a letter campaign, and provide the letter in said email, it seems to me they are trying to bully their people to respond, from a position of power…I have no dog in this fight, but I am offended that the company would resort to this type of tactical assault on a book it doesn’t like. I feel a more balanced approach would be to refute any claims made in the book (if it can) and open discussion. Its cry of: “I don’t like it. Let’s stop it” should be met with: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

Pulp mill pillar of communityy, JB of Pictou as in her letter to the News cited in an earlier post: “Be a leader, ask good questions, get answers and spread the truth.”

Remarkably balanced book J.M, Halifax

I’ve read the book (purchased it at Indigo) and find it remarkably balanced, given the refusal of management to be interviewed by the author. Would that the government might provide some of the same balance in representing the various interests (employment, health, environment, education) of all its citizens. But government officials also declined to be interviewed by the author.

Strong-arming bookstore

Disparaging books and authors because we don’t agree with what they’ve written is treading a very dangerous path. What’s next? Will we be told that the reports of pollution and effluent problems that have plagued the mill operation for years are all “fake news”?

Mea culpa, I missed this earlier opinion piece by Kathy Cloutier, director of communications for Paper Excellence Canada (owners of the Pictou Mill) in the Chronicle Herald Nov 21, 2017: Closed loop a technology issue, not a financial one

As confirmed by expert consultants, a zero-effluent bleached kraft mill does not exist at this time. Therefore, it cannot be argued that it is a question of “spend the extra money” to design a closed-loop system for Northern Pulp. The technology is simply not available for Northern Pulp’s process…The proposed new treatment system for Northern Pulp will be a modern AST system that mills and other facilities (industrial, municipal, etc.) throughout the world have in place…The proposed new treatment system for Northern Pulp will be a modern AST system that mills and other facilities (industrial, municipal, etc.) throughout the world have in place.

Treated effluent has been flowing through Boat Harbour and into the Northumberland Strait for over 50 years. The new treatment facility and diffused outfall will reduce the impact on the Strait as it is designed to meet the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment guidelines for effluent discharges which stipulate that all effluent parameters of concern should meet background concentrations of the receiving water in less than 100 metres from the outfall. Spawning and fishery grounds have been taken into account in determining best outfall location for the new discharge point through the receiving water study.

It’s in The Globe too (Dec 6): Pulp non-fiction: Why a book about a Nova Scotia pulp mill has set off a firestorm


So the debate & friction continue. Cloutier’s position seems clear although she didn’t quite put it this way: no pipe, no plant.

Said B.M. of Abercrombie (where the mill is located), cited above, “According to a source at the mill, pipe has already arrived at the mill for this project”.

Is this the Mill’s last stand? If it is, I think they could benefit from different tactics, ones that convey transparency, objectivity, concern, honesty… and perhaps an acknowledgment and an apology for the harms of days past. Surely that could only help no matter what the final outcome and it might even help to keep the mill.

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