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PC leadership candidate Lohr defends Northern Pulp, blasts P.E.I. premier for requesting more detailed environmental assessment

Kings North MLA John Lohr has introduced a private member’s bill that, if enacted, would see the expansion of the mental health court to all regions of Nova Scotia. - File Photo
Kings North MLA John Lohr has voiced his support for Northern Pulp following criticism from P.E.I.'s premier. - File Photo

A leadership candidate for Nova Scotia’s Progressive Conservatives has expressed his support for Northern Pulp, and condemnation of statements from P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan, in a statement he released Wednesday.

“Northern Pulp is a key employer in Pictou County,” said John Lohr, “and their business keeps over 11,000 jobs related to our province’s forestry industry alive from Cape Breton to Yarmouth.”

Lohr noted that Northern Pulp is the largest exporter at the Port of Halifax, shipping an average of 300 containers weekly.

The Kings North MLA contended that the Stephen McNeil Liberals put 11,000 jobs at risk when it “unilaterally announced the closure of (Northern Pulp’s) current effluent treatment facility by 2020.”

In his statement, Lohr also specifically criticized the premier of P.E.I. for disapproving Northern Pulp’s new proposed effluent treatment facility, and requesting a more comprehensive assessment, to specifically look into the impact a pipeline releasing effluent into the Northumberland Strait will have on Island fisheries.

There currently is a Level 1 environmental assessment planned for this summer.

MacLauchlan released a statement on Jan. 23 expressing concern that the proposed pipeline “could have unintended consequences for our commercial fishery and aquaculture industries,” and that the proposed replacement facility “is not a project that our government will support as proposed.”

Lohr criticized MacLauchlan’s stance as one that would “slow the process down further,” in his request for Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna to impose a more thorough environmental assessment.

“This political interference would put the entire project in jeopardy, because it would likely push construction of the new facility past the 2020 deadline,” said Lohr. “If the P.E.I. premier is allowed to dictate environmental policy in Nova Scotia, then I call upon Premier McNeil to at least extend his unilateral deadline.”
Lohr indicated that it’s incumbent upon the premier to “assure the thousands of hard-working Nova Scotians in the forestry industry that they will continue to have a job.”
Lohr added, “If no one on the government side is willing to stand up for hard-working Nova Scotians, then I will.”

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