Minister's Response

Date: December 16, 2019

Project:

Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation is proposing the construction, operation, and decommissioning of a new effluent treatment facility adjacent to its bleached kraft pulp mill, located at Abercrombie Point near Pictou, Nova Scotia. Treated effluent would be discharged through a new pipeline, approximately 15 kilometres, in length running mainly along Highway 106 before entering the marine environment at Caribou Harbour and out into the Northumberland Strait. The project is intended to replace the existing Boat Harbour Effluent Treatment Facility, which is legislated to close by January 31, 2020.

Decision:

Non-designated project

Reasons:

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change has considered the potential for the Project to cause adverse effects within federal jurisdiction, adverse direct or incidental effects, public concern related to these effects, as well as adverse impacts on the Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. The Minister's consideration includes the important questions raised by federal departments (including Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada) during the provincial environment assessment that must still be addressed. The Minister also considered the analysis of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada.

The Minister has reached the decision that the designation of the Project is unwarranted for the following reasons:

  • the comprehensive environmental assessment and regulatory review processes that currently apply to the Project and related consultations with Indigenous Peoples provide a framework to address the potential adverse aforementioned effects and concerns raised by Indigenous Peoples and members of the public. This includes:
    • the provincial environmental assessment led by Nova Scotia Environment in which several federal departments provided expert advice (including Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Transport Canada and Health Canada); and
    • the requirement for federal departments to determine whether adverse environmental effects from components of the Project on federal land are significant prior to issuing authorizations or permits, as per section 82 of the Impact Assessment Act. These provisions provide the federal government the flexibility to address specific issues and information gaps that may still need to be addressed and to implement further conditions and mitigation measures in areas of federal jurisdiction.
  • the Project must also comply with relevant provisions of federal legislation, including the Fisheries Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Species at Risk Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and the Canadian Navigable Waters Act;
  • an authorization through Public Services and Procurement Canada under the Federal Real Property Regulations allowing the use of the seabed for construction and operation of the effluent pipe and outfall will also be required; and
  • the proponent must also comply with the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations.

 

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