10/04/2012 12:35 EDT | Updated 12/04/2012 05:12 EST

Nova Scotia premier dismisses accusations over forestry protection

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter is dismissing an environmental group's claim that the province has weakened forest sustainability requirements.

The Ecology Action Centre says the province's deal with the Port Hawkesbury Paper mill in Cape Breton could allow logging of Crown land that was supposed to be protected under agreements signed by the mill's previous owners.

Dexter says that's wrong.

He's insisting the agreements have not changed.

The premier confirms that a large parcel of land identified for possible protection could be logged after 2015 if the province finds other land to meet its commitment to preserve 12 per cent of Nova Scotia's land mass.

Under a deal struck last month, the Nova Scotia government is providing the mill's new owners with a $124.5-million aid package.