The Gulf Nova Scotia Fleet Planning Board, the Maritime Fishermen’s Union and the Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association, with the support of the New Brunswick Fisheries Association and Pictou Landing First Nation, collectively oppose Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation’s proposed effluent treatment and disposal system for Abercrombie Point Mill that would release 70-90 million litres of effluent per day, through a sub-sea pipe, into the Northumberland Strait.
“Given the predictable negative environmental impacts of piping effluent into the Northumberland Strait, our united position is ‘No pipe in the Strait.’ The damaging effects of accumulation of toxins that are present even in treated effluent are well-documented and are dangerous for the fish species that spawn and live in the Northumberland Strait,” states President Ronnie Heighton of the of the Gulf Nova Scotia Fleet Planning Board.
Nothing less than a federal environmental assessment is required for this proposed project. Three provincial economies and several First Nation communities depend on a clean and healthy Northumberland Strait. Furthermore, much of the coastline of the Northumberland Strait is designated as a Marine Protected Area by the Government of Canada and the area where the pipe would discharge effluent is home to several Federal marine refuges, the groups said in a press release.
“This project clearly belongs under federal jurisdiction and a federal environmental assessment should be required. Our organizations have retained legal counsel and environmental consultants to inform us on this process,” according to PEIFA President Bobby Jenkins.
The federal and provincial governments are obligated to consult and accommodate with First Nations on natural resource projects. In 2016, the Provincial Court of Nova Scotia found that the current effluent treatment and disposal system at Abercrombie Point Mill unjustly pollutes Pictou Landing First Nation communities and traditional fishing grounds at Boat Harbour.
“That the proposed alternative to Boat Harbour merely shifts the burden of pollution to Northumberland Strait is unacceptable. The discharge pipe system would be a clear violation of the spirit and substance of the commitments made by the Government of Nova Scotia,” says Chief Andrea Paul of the Pictou Landing First Nation.