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State of Maine Issues Demolition Permit for Bucksport Mill

Bucksport, Maine, USA 09 September 2015 -- (From the Bangor Daily News) -- The state Department of Environmental Protection has issued a demolition permit to a subsidiary of American Iron & Metal to dismantle the former Verso Paper mill.

Among the conditions included in the permit, which was approved 2 Sept. 2015, are requirements to control erosion and to filter stormwater runoff, to limit noise levels resulting from the permitted work and to use a rock crusher on site within restrictions set by the department's Bureau of Air Quality.

The nine-page document does not indicate when the project may get under way or how long it may take. An AIM official previously said demolition of the mill, located on a 250-acre site adjacent to the Penobscot River, could take 14 to 16 months to complete.

AIM submitted a demolition permit application to DEP this past winter, but that application was returned to the company in April after the state agency determined it did not contain enough required information to be considered for processing.

AIM Development has not yet received a final wastewater discharge license from the state and must do so before it can begin demolition at the site.

Verso had a wastewater discharge license for the mill when it was in operation, but AIM is proposing to demolish the licensed treatment plant on site as part of the project, according to the DEP document. This means AIM will need to get final approval for an amended wastewater discharge license.

Last month, AIM received preliminary approval for such an amended license, according to the DEP document. Details of how the license would be amended were not included in the permit.

Jeff McGlin, vice president for AIM Development, did not respond to a voicemail message Tuesday afternoon.

Sue Lessard, interim town manager for Bucksport, said Tuesday that AIM will need to receive a separate demolition permit from the town before work can begin.

She said the Town Council was expected to discuss the project and the DEP permit when it meets at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, at the local town office to consider additional requirements for the demolition project.

The DEP permit does not restrict hours of operation for the demolition project, which Bucksport officials have indicated is something the town may want to do. Lessard said the town also may decide to require AIM to post a financial bond, accessible to the town, for covering the cost of the demolition project and to ensure it is completed.

According to the DEP permit, the demolition project is expected to cost $4,450,000.

"The applicant submitted a letter from TD Bank, dated June 30, 2015, indicating that American Iron & Metal Company Inc. has credit facilities in the mid-nine figures and that their current obligations are drawn at the low nine figures," DEP officials wrote in the permit. "The applicant has committed the funds from this account for the project."

The project will generate approximately 14,000 cubic yards of construction and demolition debris, DEP officials added. All construction and demolition debris generated will be disposed of at either the Crossroads Landfill in Norridgewock or the Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town, the document indicates.

AIM Development acquired the former paper mill from Verso earlier this year, after Verso decided to shut the facility down and to lay off more than 500 mill employees at the end of 2014. Approximately 1,000 people worked at the mill in 2000, when it was owned and operated by Champion International. A series of industrial owners had made paper at the site since 1930.

AIM has continued to operate and sell power from two power-generation facilities on the property -- one that runs on gas and another on biomass -- that former mill operators used to help provide electricity to the mill's operations.

The new owner, a subsidiary of Montreal-based scrap metal dealer American Iron & Metal, has not indicated what it will do with the site once the mill is demolished. AIM officials have suggested, however, that they likely will try to redevelop it, as they are doing with another former Verso mill in Sartell, Minnesota.

AIM officials have indicated that the firm will not use the site as a possible permanent metal recycling facility. About half of the property, or 123 acres, is occupied by the defunct mill, power generation facilities and associated support facilities, according to DEP.


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