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Minister says new restrictions necessary to stay in business.

Minister says new restrictions necessary to stay in business

The federal government is expected to introduce new legislation this fall which will put stricter controls on dioxins discharged by Canada's pulp and paper mills.

Federal Forestry Minister Frank Oberle said the mills will be expected to conform to specific target dioxin discharge levels by the Jan. 1 1994.

Dioxin, which is known to cause cancer in laboratory animals and believed to cause a disfiguring form of acne, changes in the immune system and possible birth defects in humans, is a byproduct of the delignification process used in the production of pulp.

Delignification involves the removal of the substance which binds wood together. As a result of the presence of wood preservatives or other substances, dioxins are created when chlorine is used during the bleaching process.

Under changes to the federal government's pollution abatement program, mills will have to reduce the amount of dioxins and furans in their waste water to levels which cannot be measured by procedures to be outlined in the legislation. The mills will also have to reduce the amount of conventional pollutants in pulp and paper effluent.

With capital being a rare commodity in the sector, many mills are now restricting their capital investment to projects designed to meet environmental regulations.

The minister noted that the industry has spent about $1 billion on environmental technology over the past two years, and he estimates that another $4 billion to $6 billion will be spent before 1995.

Oberle concedes that the industry is "already in very serious trouble," but he insists that the investment is necessary.

"We cannot excuse ourselves from these trends," he said in reference to demands being made by European consumers. "If we do, then we won't be in the business. It's as simple as that. We have a tough road ahead of us."

However, Oberle said the federal government is prepared "to be as flexible as it can be."

PHOTO : James River-Marathon recently completed a $32-million rebuilding of the mill's bleach plant, part of a series of projects designed to reduce the amount of chlorinated organic matter produced by the mill. The company is now seeking government approval to build a new $40-million secondary treatment plant.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Report on Forestry; Canada's Forestry Minister Frank Oberle; stricter controls on dioxins discharged by pulp and paper mills
Author:Krejlgaard, Chris
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Sep 1, 1991
Previous Article:Feds to invest $100 million in joint management program.
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