The Chronicle Herald,
December 23, 2019
Death warrant for forestry
Re: the impending closure of Northern Pulp:
First, the repercussions of prematurely closing the mill have been vastly understated. Whoever came up with the number of 2,700 people employed by the forest industry does not understand it. That number is low and does not count the thousands, if not tens of thousands, of woodlot owners and farmers whose woodlot income makes up a huge portion of their family income.
No one supports polluting the environment, but there was time to fix this. Shutting down the primary buyer of woodchips and poor-quality wood not only closes down an industry, but it will effectively destroy Nova Scotia’s forests.
Proper forest management cannot occur without the ability to sell poor-quality fibre. This fibre presently has no other market and comes under CFIA restrictions if we find one. So the few mills that manage to run will only be buying the very best timber. Every contractor and logger will be forced to cut their best timber in order to make their equipment payments and not go bankrupt. Most contractors would have a couple of million dollars worth of gear. The larger ones would have tens of millions invested, and few or none would have it all paid for.
So what happens when, as landowners and loggers, we cannot sell poor-quality wood? What happens is we cut the best and leave the rest. So forget forest management in Nova Scotia; it cannot happen, and after a decade or two, there will not be any forests left to manage.
Worse yet, all those against giving the mill time to mitigate its effluent have been lied to about the effects of this closure. Those folks think it doesn’t affect them, but it does. Your government services just got cut. The $2 billion that the forest industry used to contribute to Nova Scotia’s economy will leave a gaping hole in health care, education, policing, road repair, the environment — every government service, in fact.
This decision didn’t have to be made, and unless it’s corrected, it will have devastating and long-lasting effects for all Nova Scotia.
Gerald Keddy, New Ross, former Progressive Conservative MP
The Chronicle Herald,