Northern Pulp in Pictou County will need to file an environmental assessment report for its proposed effluent treatment plant, according to the Government of Nova Scotia.

“While there has been some good work done here, I have concluded I need more science-based information before me to properly assess the potential risks to air, water, fish, and human health,” said Environment Minister Gordon Wilson. “An environmental assessment report will have to address these issues, and others, to be successful.”

The department will post draft terms of reference online by January 10, 2020. The public and government reviewers will have 30 days to comment.

“We commend the Nova Scotia environment minister for asking for more science-based information and welcome the caution expressed on this decision,” said Dennis King, premier of Prince Edward Island. “We are pleased that the Nova Scotia government has listened to the many concerns expressed by those who provided feedback on Northern Pulp’s most recent submission and encourage it to continue to listen to submissions from all parties, including those from Prince Edward Island.”

Premier King had requested a federal assessment on the proposed effluent treatment plan and said he still believes there should be a more comprehensive federal assessment given the shared nature of the resource.

“There are still many unanswered questions about the short and long-term impacts on the Northumberland Strait ecosystem,” said Jamie Fox, minister of fisheries and communities in Prince Edward Island. “While we are disappointed there will not be a more comprehensive Level Two federal assessment, we are hopeful that the provincial assessment will address many of the outstanding issues associated with the Northern Pulp proposal.”

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Fishers and aquaculturalists, along with First Nations and environmentalists, have consistently opposed the project which would see millions of gallons of effluent discharged into the Northumberland Strait on a daily basis.

“We will continue to closely monitor this project until we are satisfied there will be no harmful impacts on the marine environment and on the livelihoods of those who depend on it,” said Minister Fox.

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