Recycling plant breaks ground amid lawsuit

Fiberight breaks ground

HAMPDEN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Ground was broken on Wednesday for a new facility that promises to be the solution for towns all across Eastern Maine looking to get rid of their trash.
The Fiberight plant in Hampden would recycle the garbage into biofuel... But, this groundbreaking comes as the whole project is still locked in a legal battle.

“It's really enjoyable to see it come this far and we're looking forward to getting it online and getting people to see just how great of a facility it will be,” says Hampden Mayor, David Ryder.

He said it's both the beginning and the end. The end of a long process to get here and the beginning of what's soon to be a state-of-the-art recycling plant.

“It's the latest technology available for what we need today,” he said.

Hampden and dozens of other towns in Eastern Maine are partnering with a company known as Fiberight.

The towns, which are part of the Municipal Review Committee are spending money to develop the land. Fiberight is responsible for the actual construction of the plant.

But there's a potential problem....Although Fibreright has its state permits, it is currently facing a lawsuit from one of its would-be competitors, the Penobscot Energy Recovery Company, which is appealing the issuance of those permits.

Fiberight CEO, Craig Stuart- Paul said he’s not too concerned.

“As you can see, we are confident that those will fail… we're still investing in this project,” he said.

According to Paul, funding is also still in the works.

“The financing should be in place well within the agreement with MRC,” he said.

But other towns in the region think it's too much of a risky venture. They will still send their trash to PERC, something they've done for 30 years.

Orrington, where the PERC plant is located, is one of those towns.

“It provides tax base for us, employment within our municipalities and I have a really good relationship with PERC,” said Paul White, the town manager of Orrington.

Although he is skeptical that the Fiberight plant will come to fruition, Hampden’s Mayor has no doubt.

“I'm just happy to be here and I'm happy to see it going forward. I think it's going to be great for the state of Maine and this local community,” said Ryder.

If all goes according to plan, construction for the new recycling plant is expected to be completed by April of 2018. The lawsuit is currently pending. 

Copyright 2016 WLBZ


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