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Northern Pulp files request with N.S. Supreme Court for judicial review

The Northern Pulp mill in Abercrombie Point, N.S., is viewed from Pictou, N.S., Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Northern Pulp has filed a request with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia for a judicial review of the minister of environment’s decision requiring an Environmental Assessment Report for the company’s proposed effluent treatment facility, the company said in a press release Thursday.

Northern Pulp, nine individuals representing the broader forestry sector, and Unifor, the union representing hourly employees at Northern Pulp’s kraft pulp facility, have asked the Supreme Court to review whether the decision was made on proper grounds and considered all of the evidence presented.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia pulp mill issues layoff notices as facility winds down operations

The applicants are seeking a review on the grounds that “the minister erred, and acted unreasonably, in preparing and rendering the decision and that the minister erred in law by basing the decision in irrelevant or improper factors and considerations,” as stated in court documents.

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Nova Scotia Environment Minister Gordon Wilson, determined on Dec. 17, 2019, that the additional information and analysis provided by Northern Pulp “are not enough to properly asses whether there may be adverse effects or significant environment affects on fish, air, water resources and human health.”

READ MORE: Northern Pulp workers brace for life after the paper mill closes

According to the statement released by Northern Pulp, “the applicants are hopeful that the judicial review will bring transparency to the decision-making process especially as Northern Pulp considers its potential upcoming Environmental Assessment process.”

“We’re hoping that through this judicial review, Northern Pulp will be provided with clarity about the process and elements required in order to be successful in the EA (environmental assessment) process that we’ll be embarking on later this year,” said Brian Baarda, CEO of Paper Excellence Canada.

READ MORE: Northern Pulp mill will shut down by Jan. 31, as N.S. premier announces $50M transition fund

“We believe all of the necessary ingredients for a successful pulp industry are here in Nova Scotia including access to fibre, deep sea ports, a talented labour pool and a modern, competitive pulp mill.”

Northern Pulp intends to move ahead with the environmental assessment process for a proposed effluent treatment facility, even though the mill is scheduled to shut down at the end of the month.

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