Lawmakers pass power bill to benefit East Millinocket paper mill

EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- The process of getting more than 200 laid off workers at Great Northern Paper back to work appears to be moving forward, as a major bill whose supporters say could end the shutdown at the East Millinocket mill was passed by a legislative committee on Tuesday.

Members of the committee unanimously passed LD 1792, which would essentially allow owners of the East Millinocket mill to 'power-shed' if it becomes law. 'Power shedding' is where the mill could power down at times sell back its excess power on the open market.

Supporters of the bill say current state law doesn't allow the East Millinocket plant to do that.

Yet even if the legislation is passed by the full legislature, Great Northern Paper would still need to work out a new agreement with Brookfield Asset management. That company is currently selling power to the mill.

Great Northern Paper stopped paper production at the mill earlier this year, as owners bean searching for ways to cut costs.


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