Canaopy's Columbia Pulp Mill

Canadian environmental group Canopy’s favourite “tree-free” pulp mill is now in receivership. Styled and promoted globally by Canopy and others as North America’s first so-called “tree-free” pulp mill, Columbia Pulp was ordered this week to hand over its assets to a property management group, just a few days before a court order would have mandated an auction of the pulp mill on the Columbia County Courthouse steps.

As I noted in my recent book and blog, Canopy has been blinded by its vision of the future and failed to heed the serious and practical technical criticism that has been offered, instead gushing about Columbia Pulp ushering in a “new green resource sector” and an alternative world of 200 mills making paper without trees.

Columbia Pulp used a combination of wheat straw and alfalfa to make wet lap pulp for packaging end uses. But the demand has not been there, and the mill was idled back in February.

Canopy has known about the situation at Columbia Pulp since February but to my knowledge has not yet broadly shared the bad news with its membership, supporters, or the public. Certainly, as of today, there was no mention of the Columbia Pulp closing on the Canopy website or on its media alerts page. Canopy promoted a similar venture (Prairie Pulp in Manitoba) that fell apart a few years ago.