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Maine DEP Approves Permit for Innovative Waste-to-Biofuel Plant

Date: July 15, 2016

Source: News Room

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MaineDEP) has approved draft permits for a $69 million first-of-its-kind waste management plant in Hampden, ME that would convert waste from more than 100 central Maine communities into cellulosic biofuel. The permits for the 144,000-square-foot plant have been issued to the Municipal Review Committee (MRC), a group that represents the solid waste interests of 187 central Maine communities, and Fiberight (Catonsville, MD), the company that aims to build the plant. The MRC contends that the plan is the best option for its communities, both financially and environmentally. Opponents say that the untested project may not be technically or fiscally feasible, and that the project violates a state statute.

So far, 104 towns have committed 98,381 tons to the plant which is about two-thirds of MRC's original goal of securing at least 150,000 tons. Although, MRC says the size of the plant could be reduced from its planned annual capacity of 180,000 tons to 110,000 tons and still be financed, built and profitable. MRC has been grappling with what to do after its long-term waste disposal contract with the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. (PERC), in neighboring Orrington, ME, expires in 2018. That is the year that PERC's energy deal to provide above-market-rate electricity between Emera Maine also expires. Fiberight still needs the backing of other investors in order to fulfill financial requirements of the final permits from the MaineDEP.

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