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Catalyst Environmental Manager: Drought Conditions Threaten Fish Habitat, Pulp Mill Jobs

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Catalyst Environmental Manager: Drought Conditions Threaten Fish Habitat, Pulp Mill Jobs

Brian Houle, environmental manager at Catalyst Paper’s Crofton pulp mill, a major employer in the Cowichan Valley in Vancouver, B.C., Canada that requires about 120 million cubic metres of water a year to operate, announced the company is "comfortable" with current flows and that reserves should carry through to early October.

But should the drought deepen and persist into the fall causing flows to fall to four cubic metres a second, the mill would have to shut, putting at risk more than 600 jobs in the Cowichan Valley, 5,500 jobs elsewhere in B.C. and the $20 million a year in tax revenue and $1 billion a year the mill contributes to the provincial economy. And the regional sewer system relies on river flows, so it’s at risk, too, an unpleasant prospect for householders.

In a worst case extended scenario, the drought continues it moves up in disaster level from one that is harming fish to one that is destroying the livelihoods of pulp mill employees and owner's bottom lines, potentially creating a large amount of damage to a region's economy largely dependent on the pulp and paper industry.
 

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