Irving Pulp and Paper Mill facing pollution charges
One of the Maritimes biggest industrial employers is facing more than a dozen pollution charges.
J.D. Irving’s Pulp and Paper Mill is accused of releasing harmful substances into the Saint John River on 15 occasions, over more than a two-year period.
Environment Canada says the Irving Mill at the Reversing Falls violated the Fisheries Act in June of 2014, and then, 14 more times until August of this year.
The charges were laid in court by a fisheries officer employed by Environment Canada. All of the counts are identical, except for the date they are said to have occurred. They accuse the company of depositing a substance harmful to fish into the adjacent Saint John River, a total of 15 times.
Environmentalists like David Thompson says it’s troubling that the problems are alleged to have occurred over a period of more than two years.
“I’m really distressed that the matter could go on for that long of a period of time,” says Thompson.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
The company has faced similar accusations in the past. In 1999 and 2010, Irving Pulp paid fines of $50,000, and $75,000, for violations of the Fisheries Act.
In response to the latest allegations, the company said the charges relate to issues that were self-reported by the mill.
As for the current situation, Irving told CTV Atlantic in a statement:
“The mill is currently in compliance with all environmental laws.”
The company will be back in court next month to enter a plea. A conviction would mean a minimum fine of $200,000 for each count.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.