Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Residents Learn That Northern Pulp Mill in N.S. Again over Pollution Limits

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Residents Learn That Northern Pulp Mill in N.S. Again over Pollution Limits

Article excerpt

Pulp mill again exceeds pollution limit

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HALIFAX - Residents of a Nova Scotia community who are learning second-hand about excessive air pollution from a nearby pulp mill say the province is being lax and secretive about emission levels.

Matt Gunning, a volunteer with the community group Clean the Mill, says people living across the harbour from the Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Inc. mill in Pictou should be able to monitor pollution levels on the provincial Environment Department's website -- especially when they are over the limit.

"We don't feel the government is working with the people on this," he said.

"If the mill is going to be failing consistently, I think posting the results (of stack emissions) would help with transparency and maybe help gain the people's faith in this situation."

A local member of the legislature said Tuesday she received information from the company that the power boiler at the plant had particulate emissions of 224 milligrams per reference cubic metres, while the permit for the equipment allows for only 150 milligrams.

Karla MacFarlane, the Tory member of the legislature for Pictou West, said her office continues to receive complaints almost daily about emissions.

She says the environment minister must ensure the stack emission test results are made public on the department's website to help the public find ways to avoid harmful emissions.

"It keeps the constituents abreast of what is happening. When the Department of Environment doesn't put those figures up, it seems secretive," she said.

"If there is something being emitted that is harmful and potentially dangerous to one's health, they should know what the levels are."

NDP Leader Gary Burrill said in an email that Pictou County residents have a right to know what pollution data their government is tracking.

Under the NDP's proposed Environmental Bill of Rights, the province would be required to post all information they collect about pollution and environmental degradation online, he said.

It would also give citizens mechanisms through the courts to protect their right to a clean and healthy environment, he said. …

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