Settlement in hand, shuttered Maine mill buyers face funding hurdle

Posted June 15, 2017, at 11:57 a.m.

EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — After reaching a settlement with owners of the former Great Northern Paper mill, the hopeful developers of a $240 million biorefinery and energy park at the site face a challenge getting the funding they need.

A spokesman for developer EMEP LLC said the firm has met with “impediments” in getting access to the federal loan guarantee it hoped would support about 70 percent of the project cost.

“Last month, a settlement was reached between EMEP and North American Recovery Management. In that time, some impediments have arisen with respect to federal loan guarantees for energy programs,” the company said through spokesman Dan Cashman. “EMEP continues to research federal loan guarantees and additional funding options to move forward with its original energy park plan.”

[ Developers eye East Millinocket as heart of $240M biomass venture]

The company declined to comment further on the terms of the settlement, including confirmation of whether it would acquire the East Millinocket property at all and, if so, when.

The company had sued North American Recovery Management in February, arguing it negotiated a right to buy the property for $1.75 million. It filed notice last week that the parties settled and dropped all claims in the suit.

In the lawsuit, EMEP wrote that acquiring the land was a key step before pursuing their loan application and potentially other benefits, such as an investment tax credit.

EMEP has other business in the state as well. The company is a joint venture of the wood-to-energy company Stored Solar, which operates two biomass generation plants in West Enfield and Jonesboro.

The company has outlined plans to invest in many defunct facilities in the state, building “bioenergy parks” that would bring in other customers to use its waste heat and other byproducts from turning wood into electricity.

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