Northern Pulp is poised to appeal its industrial approval permit.

“The IA, as it was issued on Jan. 30, we intend to appeal because it was a flawed document,” Bruce Chapman, general manager of the Pictou County mill, said Thursday. “It really hampers our long-term success as a business.

“There are people who suggest that we will appeal this permit because we want to shy away from responsibilities, but that is not the case. Nothing can be further from the truth. We want to do better environmentally, and we will do better environmentally. But this IA is fundamentally flawed. It’s just not reasonable or fair.”

Chapman said the company is waiting for the provincial Environment Department to reissue the permit by March 9 because there were a couple of mistakes and typos in it.

After it is reissued, the company has 30 days to appeal it.

“It sets new standards that go beyond what other pulp and paper companies are expected to meet. It doesn’t create a level playing field, and to date, we’ve seen little science from Nova Scotia Environment to back up their demands.”

Those demands include a significant reduction in allowable particulate emissions, an annual cap on overall emissions and daily maximums imposed on water use and waste-water effluent.

The caps on daily water usage and waste-water effluent, directed to be phased in over the five-year life of the permit, are particularly problematic for the company. At its height in 2020, water usage will be capped at 63,000 cubic metres per day (a 34.5 per cent reduction), while waste-water volumes will be capped at 67,500 cubic metres per day (a 25 per cent reduction), according to the department.

“It has to do with the new parameters they are putting on us that no other mill has to meet,” Chapman said.

Some of the permit directives are reasonable, he said.

“Eighty per cent of it is quite good. It’s a 66-page document, and it’s only a few key items that, so far, we find unacceptable.

“We brought in some experts to review the IA, as it was written in December, and we had them analyze it, because it is a very complicated business on the environment side. … These experts are telling us that some of the reductions in the IA lead to some problems with total reduced sulphur that are just not attainable.”

If the company appeals the permit to Environment Minister Randy Delorey, the minister will then have 60 days to decide on the appeal.

“We are important to the economy of rural Nova Scotia,” Chapman said.

“We’re not playing the jobs-versus-the-environment card here. The Ivany report tells us that pulp and paper and the forestry industry is very important to the economy. The industry is very interconnected, and we are a very important player in that industry.

“In the end, if we have an IA that is fundamentally flawed, it puts ourselves and the entire forestry industry in Nova Scotia in jeopardy.”