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The Northern Pulp mill in Pictou, N.S. shown on Dec. 6, 2018.

Darren Calabrese/The Globe and Mail

The Nova Scotia government is requiring additional study on a controversial proposal to pipe 85 million litres of a pulp mill’s treated waste into the Northumberland Strait.

The Northern Pulp paper mill has become a flashpoint because its project would put the waste into rich fishing grounds.

The plan has pitted forest industry workers against fishermen, environmentalists and even the P.E.I. government.

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In an environmental review released today, Environment Minister Margaret Miller said the company must submit a “focus report that provides more information” in numerous areas.

The findings say by April 24 the department will give Northern Pulp new terms of reference for the study and it will have up to one year to submit a report.

Miller says the January 2020 deadline to close the current treatment facility in Boat Harbour is “still in effect,” though the company has asked for an extension.

“I did not take this lightly we made our decision as we always do based on science and available evidence,” she said Friday.

“The company did a commendable job but it was obvious some things were lacking.”

The mill’s parent company, Paper Excellence, said it will collect the data, but more time will “clearly” be needed.

“We are confident in our plan and we will provide more information as per the government’s request, however as we’ve seen throughout this project – these requests take time,” CEO Brian Baarda said in a statement.

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“We require an extension to the legislated deadline, so we have enough time to collect the information and to finish our new waste water treatment facility.”

The heavily polluted treatment lagoon is on the edge of the Pictou Landing First Nation.

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