Port Townsend paper mill drops biomass plant plans

PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. (AP) - The Port Townsend Paper Corp. is scrapping plans for a $54 million project that would have allowed the mill to burn forest biomass for electricity.

Company President Roger Hagan told the Peninsula Daily News "it's not a financial viable project." He says the company doesn't plan to ask for another extension when its 18-month construction permit ends in June.

The project would have upgraded the mill's biomass cogeneration plant to create 24 megawatts of energy.

Hagan cited several factors for the decision, including challenges from environmental groups and a strong market for cheap natural gas.

Environmental groups had challenged the project over concerns about air pollution. But the state Supreme Court in February upheld the company's permit.