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Update on Northern Pulp Environmental Assessment Process

Update on Northern Pulp Environmental Assessment Process

The public consultation period for the draft terms and reference Northern Pulp must use in order to prepare its Class II environmental evaluation report was closed on January 31. The Province received approximately 1,300 submissions.

On December 7, 2021, a Class 2 environmental assessment was conducted on a Northern Pulp mill project that would see it revitalized and a new pulp effluent facility built in Pictou county.

Northern Pulp received the submissions Monday February 7, and now has 21 days to reply to them. The Department will have 14 days to prepare the final terms for Northern Pulp’s environmental assessment report. The Department will also make the submissions available to the public at that moment.

The company has up to 2 years to submit its environmental report for the proposed mill conversion and effluent-treatment facility project after receiving the final terms. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change will receive the company’s report and refer it to an independent panel for environmental assessment. This panel will oversee public consultation and evaluate the report.

The Provinces Environment Act (and its regulations) provide the legal framework for environmental assessments of major projects in Nova Scotia. Each proposal is subjected to the same requirements, processes, and timelines.

Quick Facts

  • Nova Scotia’s environmental review process is science-based and evidence-based. Companies must identify environmental risks from their work and develop a plan to mitigate them.
  • The Department’s role as regulator is to ensure that companies accurately assess potential environmental impacts and plan to mitigate them.
  • The environmental assessment process is primarily focused on the planning and design phases of a project. Companies cannot operate or construct until they have received an approval for the environmental assessment.
  • If an environmental assessment is approved, companies go through a second phase called the industrial approval stage. This phase sets emission targets based upon the environmental risks and mitigations that were identified during the environmental assessment.
  • A Class II environmental assessment usually takes 275 calendar day to complete. This does not include the time required by the company to prepare an assessment report.


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