Island MLA’s concerned about effluent from a Pictou County pulp mill have a number of unanswered questions after meeting with company officials last week.
Northern Pulp laid out its’ plans to PEI’s Legislative Standing Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries…..and answered questions about its’ proposal for a new onsite plant that would treat effluent before it’s carried 11 kilometres through a 36-inch-wide pipe and dispersed into the Northumberland Strait.
Company officials maintain the proposed treatment system is the best option and will produce a better quality effluent with less impact on the envrionment.
But several MLA’s on the Standing Committee question just exactly whom this best option serves and were looking for scientific answers on the effects this effluent will have on lobster larvae and the entire fishing industry.
Darlene Compton is the MLA for Belfast-Murray River, an area representing a huge number of lobster and other fishers, along with tourism operators in eastern PEI.
Compton questions the length of a Class 1 environmental assessment which consists of a 50-day period from when Northern Pulp files its proposal to government. A Class 2 system, however, would consist of 254 days and would see independent scientific research being done.
Compton says it seems to be a very compressed time frame because a new treatment process for the pulp mill has to be in place by 2020 and the pressure is on both government and the mill to ensure that happens.
She says the outcome they’re looking for is to ensure jobs are protected within the fishery and at the mill…but the fact there would be a pipe into the Northumberland Strait that would be spewing effluent needs to remain top of mind.