HEALTHY FORESTS NEED A MILL
We are Nova Scotians who care deeply about our province, our forests, and our communities. We are the 36,000 Nova Scotians who own small and large woodlots. We are 10,000 plus owners and workers of forestry businesses in Nova Scotia. We are the supporters of the forestry sector who supply them with goods and services. We are Nova Scotians who are proud of our heritage, our rural way of life and the sustainable use of our renewable natural resources embodied in forestry.
We work in the forests everyday. They sustain our families and we work hard to sustain them. Forests need to be nurtured to stay healthy.
We take care of our forests every single day. We practice ecological forestry, We look after our land. We grow trees. We tend to them as they grow and when they are mature, we harvest them and start the process all over again. Forestry is a renewable and sustainable sector. Forestry was local before local was cool and renewable before renewable was trendy. Forestry is one of Nova Scotia’s most durable and impactful sectors.
Northern Pulp is prepared to transform its mill into one the cleanest in the world. We support them. Our forests and forestry need a central pulp mill otherwise the economics of ecological forestry would collapse.
The Friends of a New Northern Pulp welcome any Nova Scotian that supports the establishment of a clean, modernized Northern Pulp mill to join us. Our founding Steering Committee includes;
Robin Wilber, Elmsdale Lumber
Peter Spicer, Seven Gulches Forestry
Ryan Scott, Scott & Stewart Forestry
Andy MacGregor, MacGregor’s Industrial Group
Earle Miller, Woodlot Owner
Forest Products Produced from a Softwood Tree
WHY DO WE NEED A NEW PULP MILL?
Many people wonder if pulp mills are still needed. Activists will say that pulp mills are relics of a bygone era. They are dead wrong. Just look around your own home. Many of the products you use everyday and rely on are made with pulp. Tissues, toilet paper, newspapers, disposable diapers, writing paper, cardboard and even some of our food products are made with wood pulp.. So, the answer is YES. Nova Scotians use pulp products and Nova Scotia needs a pulp mill.
Healthy forests and ecological forestry also need a pulp mill. Generally, a little over half (51%) of harvested trees end up at a pulp mill or lower grade product facility. Not all trees or not all parts of a tree are suitable for high value lumber. Having access to a pulp mill is the best economic value for some wood fibre. Without a local market for pulp grade wood (small diameter thinnings, sawmill wood chips, etc.), it is left on the forest floor and there is not enough revenue to pay for sustainable or ecological work on woodlots. If forests are ignored, they become over mature and susceptible to disease, infestations, forest fires and blowdowns. Leaving lower quality wood on the forest floor also makes tree planting, silviculture and other forestry management practices more difficult. The best and highest use of the forest resource is to achieve the most value of the resource at all stages. Pulp is an essential part of ecological forestry.
WHY DO WE SUPPORT A NEW NORTHERN PULP?
The Northern Pulp Mill is located in Pictou County in central Nova Scotia and easily accessible by our major roads. This is important because the cost of transporting bulky wood fibre requires a centrally located mill. There are pulp mills in Maine and New Brunswick, but trucking pulp grade wood there just isn’t viable. Ten years ago, Nova Scotia had three pulp mills -Liverpool, Port Hawkesbury, Pictou.
Now just the Port Hawkesbury mill is operating and only at half its original capacity. This means all the pulp grade wood from central and western Nova Scotia doesn’t have an economic market so the critical revenue it provided to woodlot owners and sawmills is no longer there. Forestry can not be sustained, and ecological forestry can not happen without a centrally located pulp mill.
The sector can not be sustained, and ecological forestry can not happen without a centrally located pulp mill.
WHAT IS NORTHERN PULP PROPOSING?
Paper Excellence, the owner of the Northern Pulp mill, is proposing to transform the Mill into one of the world’s cleanest modern mills. They will build a brand new Effluent Treatment System on site that includes Primary, Secondary and for the 1st time in Canada, a year-round Tertiary Treatment system to treat the effluent to the highest standard. The new mill will use less water, less chemicals, produce less carbon and have no odour in normal operating conditions. The transformation will cost over $350 million dollars.
The Mill has also committed to improving its place and relationships in the local community. The Mill has established an independent and a permanent community liaison committee and will provide public real time performance monitoring dashboard, independent 3rd party environmental auditing and a commitment to procure local supplies and workers while supporting the local community.
WHY SHOULD YOU SUPPORT THE NEW
NORTHERN PULP MILL?
Every Nova Scotian should care about the proposed transformation of Northern Pulp. Many of the Friends of Northern are already involved in forestry so they understand the importance of having a local market for pulp grade wood.
The effect of the Northern Pulp closure on their work, woodlot or business has been real and many haven’t survived.
The pandemic and resulting increase in lumber prices has sustained some in the sector but lumber prices are returning to normal and a pulp mill is needed to maintain and grow the workforce. Just like a farmer or fisher, foresters need a market for what they produce. 51% of the harvested wood ends up in a pulp mill. Northern Pulp paid a fair price for that pulp. The transformation will create a market for that pulp again and do so in a clean mill we can all be proud of.
Even if you aren’t directly involved in forestry, the sector impacts you and your community.
THINK ABOUT THESE FACTS
- Nova Scotia’s land mass is 75% forested.
- Forests need to be nurtured to remain healthy.
- Local wood products are a natural and renewable resource that Nova Scotians have relied on for centuries.
- Harvested wood is initially destined to either a sawmill or a pulp mill. Both types of mills are essential for a functioning forestry economy.
- Most of the wood products consumers use are made with pulp. (Cardboards, tissues, paper, food additives,)
- Although people think of lumber (2×4’s, plywood) as the core items from forests, lumber represents only about 1/3 of the volume of a harvested tree.
- Over half (51%) of all tree fiber ends up in a pulp mill. (Small diameter wood, sawmill wood chips)
- Without a pulp market, much value is left on the forest floor as waste and a risk for fire and pest infestations.
- Previously, all of that pulp wood was a valued product that added revenue for woodlot owners and sawmills when Northern Pulp was operating. Forestry contractors and secondary industries also benefited.
- Healthy forestry practices demand we use all of the resource and not waste anything.
- You wouldn’t grow pigs just for bacon or beef just for steaks or chicken just for breasts. Instead, there are markets for hamburger, roasts, wings, thighs, sausages, etc. This means the total resource is used, making it economical for all buyers and ethical for a responsible farmer. Pulp is an essential part of forestry.
- The cost of transportation matters. NP is centrally located allowing wood product from all over the province to be purchased. It’s simply not economical to truck pulp to mills in other places. Basically, there is an economic radius that makes sense to ship product. For the forestry activity in central and western NS there isn’t a place now to send pulp grade fiber.
A new Northern Pulp mill makes ecological
forestry possible and viable.
HOW DOES A PULP MILL IMPACT ECOLOGICAL FORESTRY AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE LAHEY REPORT?
Ecological forestry is the future of forestry in Nova Scotia. The government is implementing the policy on Crown land as part of the Lahey report recommendations for the sector. The Lahey Report provided a 3- prong plan for the Province to manage its Crown Land. Crown Land will be designated based on its best uses with approx. 33% designated as conservation lands to be permanently protected, 50% designated for multiple uses in an ecological matrix including light touch forestry and approximately 17% designated for high production forestry on land suitable to produce wood.
Ecological forestry means that forests are constantly worked on to ensure a variety of tree species and ages that support greater biodiversity are present. Every time a worker enters a forest to work, it costs money. Being able to sell the pulp grade wood that is often the by-product of that work pays for the ecological forestry. Who will pay for ecological forestry if there is no market? Government? Woodlot Owners? The simple truth is the important work of ecological forestry cannot happen without funding and will not happen without a market for the products produced. Why would any Nova Scotian want the forestry sector to be subsidized when we have a private sector solution available?
What can you do?
BECOME A FRIEND
Become a friend
To show your support and become a friend please leave your name and email below.
Only your name will appear on the website as a supporter.
OR add your voice by submitting a comment at the bottom of the page.
Garry Mac Donald
John R. Wilson
Martin H Veenhuis
Carrie and Joe Overmars
IS THERE ENOUGH FORESTS LEFT TO SUPPLY A PULP MILL?
Why not let the trees grow so they can all be made into lumber??
Trees won’t all grow tall and straight. There are crooked ones, many trees grow too close together and need to be thinned to make room for the tree that will grow tall and straight. When a forester nurtures a woodlot, they remove the undesirable trees to make room for the others to grow. It is that byproduct that feeds a pulp mill and makes the woodlot stronger.
Is there a lot of pulp by product from a Premier tree harvested for lumber?
Will clearcutting continue?
Northern Pulp failed to get an environmental approval last time. Maybe they just aren’t up to it?
We think the new, bold Northern Pulp plans are just what forestry needs and the right solution for the pulp mill. It’s comprehensive and makes the mill into one of the cleanest in the world.
Last time, Northern Pulp was forced to act in a rush to replace an Effluent Treatment Facility (ETF) in under five years. The ETF Northern Pulp was using and all the previous owners used was owned by the Government of Nova Scotia and the Government set a hard deadline for it to be closed. So Northern Pulp focused on a plan to replace the ETF as fast as possible. The proposed solution was a standard Canadian pulp mill solution that is approved and operating all across Canada. The ETF only plan wasn’t acceptable to the community and the government of Nova Scotia and has been withdrawn from the EA process by the company.
In that process, Northern Pulp learned a lot. Neighbours and residents of Pictou were concerned about more than just the Effluent Treatment Facility and the original proposal was too narrow. The New plan addresses all of the concerns expressed by the community including effluent treatment, odour, air quality, water use, and forestry operations.
This New plan is for a total transformation of the existing pulp mill. The province has just announced a Class II Environmental Assessment will be undertaken for the mill. This is an even more rigorous process than the last Environmental Assessment process. This is good. The process will analyze the mill’s plans and provide Nova Scotians with the confidence those plans are environmentally sound.
Why would the forest industry support a company such as Northern Pulp?
For people involved in forestry, Northern Pulp is a very good company to deal with. They pay fair prices for pulp fiber, they buy most types of fiber and they were easy to do business with. Northern Pulp is an essential anchor for Nova Scotia’s forestry sector. Although the new mill will be the same size, with different equipment it will be able to purchase even more previously underutilized species than before.
The plan involves releasing treated effluent directly into Pictou Harbour. Do you support that?
In your previous EA it was said that, that system was world class, best technology available and now in just 18 months you are telling us this new plan is the best. Will there be an even better one in another 18 Months?
The last EA dealt solely with the immediate need to replace the Effluent Treatment Facility after the Province made use of the contracted Boat Harbour Effluent Treatment Facility (BHEFT) no longer possible. At the time, the Northern Pulp ETF replacement proposal was for the industry leading standard. During the last EA process, it became clear the community cared about more than the replacement ETF. So with significant input from a local Environmental Liaison Committee (ELC), the owners of Northern Pulp are proposing to undertake a total transformation of the mill making it into among the cleanest mills in the world with the best available technology and practices for every facet of operations including all its air, water, forestry and community impacts.
Will the new Northern Pulp process hemp?
It is unlikely the new Northern Pulp mill will process any hemp as it is not commercially available in NS. Additionally, The Northern Pulp mill finished product NBSK is the worlds premium pulp generally made from northern climate slower growing softwoods with longer and stronger fibers. Hemp is a southern hemisphere, fast-growing plant with very different features.
So if there is a heavy rain fall and the storm drains still go into the sewer system does it get held back for treatment or does raw waste water still go to the harbour?
We’re not certain what this question specifically refers to but the transformation proposal includes collecting and treating all produced and site water to the highest level possible. As well, the proposal includes additional capacity to hold a full days’ production of water onsite to avoid any requirement to ever have an overflow situation develop.
How are you treating surface water and landfill leachate now that you don’t have an onsite treatment facility?
Northern Pulp has an engineered landfill on the mill property. The landfill opened circa 1980 and is permitted by Nova Scotia Environment. The landfill contains residuals from the mill operations including primary sludge, fly ash, bottom ash, lime residues, and slaker residues. It does not contain any municipal solid waste or material from other companies, including Canso Chemicals.
Water from the landfill, consisting of water from the materials deposited, precipitation, and surface run-off is called leachate. As part of the operation of the landfill, the leachate is collected and treated. In the past, this leachate was treated as part of the mill effluent that was treated at the Boat Harbour Treatment Facility. Since the closure of the Boat Harbour Treatment Facility, the collected leachate has been treated offsite and will continue until a new advanced treatment facility is approved and operational. The Central Colchester Wastewater Treatment Facility is approved by Nova Scotia Environment to manage and treat surface water, including landfill leachate, and has been treating the water from the mill since June 2020.
Will you use “Closed Cycle Bleached Kraft Pulp Production” as part of the new mill? I understand it is the best available technology.
Northern Pulp has studied implementing a closed loop system. Unfortunately, the technology is not available to operate a closed loop system at a bleached kraft pulp mill. A closed loop system has been attempted unsuccessfully at other bleached kraft mills, but as of today the technology does not exist and there are no bleached kraft pulp mills anywhere in the world with a closed loop system.
Additionally, the Province of Nova Scotia retained an engineering firm to study this further. They concluded that, “Closing the loop is not an option for Northern Pulp.” You can view the report here: https://openinformation.novascotia.ca/FOI-Requests/2019-08311-TIR/shyb-bce4
Where will the pulp from the new mill be sold? Will it stay domestic?
In the past, Northern Pulp has supplied pulp to companies involved in the production of food products, LED screens, bagging, copy paper, tissue, and paper towels. As we move forward, our markets will focus on tissue production in the north east United States, and tissue, paper towel, and copy paper production in Asia. It is very likely some of these products companies produce with pulp from our mill will be sold in Canada. The exceptional quality of Northern Pulp’s product, NBSK is in very high demand wordwide. Because of it’s strength and premium quality, It is often blended with lower quality pulp products from other markets to produce finished consumer products.
What is a normal operating condition as referred to your statement about no odour during normal operating conditions?
Normal operating conditions at the Mill reflects all production and emissions controls operating as they are designed to. We expected normal operating conditions to be greater than 99% of the time. Upset conditions represent start-ups, shut downs, and unforeseen problems with our production equipment and emissions controls and will be less than 1% of the time.
Will the middle river dry up?
No. The Middle River will not dry up. When previously operating, the Mill used approximately 70,000 – 85,000 m3 of water from Middle River per day. Water usage from the Middle River will decrease by 45% to approximately 45,000 m3 of water from Middle River per day. This reduction in water use will increase the water flow into Pictou Harbour and increase its flushing capability. Detailed marine studies and modeling will be conducted and shared with the public once the work is completed.
Will there be more jobs at the mill if it reopens?
When previously operating, the Mill supported a significant number of well-paying jobs throughout Nova Scotia, including approximately 350 direct onsite jobs and 1,227 indirect jobs. We expect to hire approximately the same number of direct employees when the transformed mill reopens. Importantly, these are generally year-round, family supporting jobs.
For more questions and answers from Northern Pulp or to ask a question about the new mill transformation please got to: https://www.tomorrowsmill.ca/transformation?tool=qanda#tool_tab