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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Paper mill fears not enough wood after biomass plant opens

From an article by Jake Miller in the Wausau Daily Herald:

The operator of a Tomahawk paper mill said Wednesday that a proposed Rothschild plant's insatiable demand for fuel would endanger other plants that rely upon wood products.

In a motion sent to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, Packaging Corp. of America said a planned biomass plant by Domtar Paper and We Energies would lead to a shortage in biomass fuel -- waste wood left behind when timber is harvested.

The Tomahawk mill currently operates two biomass boilers as part of a pilot program it entered in 2002 with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to reduce fossil fuel use, according to the motion.

Company officials initially believed that the proposed plant would not create a shortage in fuel, but at an Oct. 1 meeting with Domtar they "came to the realization that the project would in fact seriously redistribute local biomass resources," the motion said.

Therefore, Packaging Corp. requested a motion to intervene, which -- if allowed by the PSC -- means company officials could speak about the impact the new plant would have on the Tomahawk operation at a Dec. 2 meeting in Madison. The company missed the Sept. 8 filing deadline.

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