Tense talks continue aimed at getting paper mill back online

EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Tense talks aimed at getting the paper mill in town back online continued Thursday. They came just one day after state lawmakers passed new legislation to help with the effort.

'Great Northern Paper LLC' stopped production in January as owners began looking for ways to cut costs. In all the mill laid off more than 200 people.

On Wednesday, the Maine legislature passed a bill that company officials say should help the mill. It would allow 'Great Northern Paper' to pursue negotiations tied around 'power shedding.' That's where the mill could occasionally power down and free up electricity to be sold, which would generate money for the mill.

However, what's still up in the air is whether the company that sells power to the mill -- Brookfield Asset Management --- will go along with the proposal.

"This bill allows us to share some revenue with Brookfield," said Scott Tranchemontagne, who is the spokesperson for 'Great Northern Paper,' "but it takes two parties to come to an agreement on that...we very much want to reach an agreement with Brookfield."

Both sides say the mill and the power company are continuing to talk. Owners of the mill say they hope to have it running again by June.

The power bill has been sent to the governor's office.


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