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Clearwater Paper Seeks Permits for New $160 Million Pulp Digester

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Clearwater Paper is seeking a property tax break to help fund a $160 million chip pulp digester at the company’s Lewiston, Idaho, USA, plant. Several news outlets reported that the Nez Perce County commissioners tentatively voted to move forward with a 75% abatement on the new property taxes the upgrade would incur. Commissioners will investigate further before giving the plan final approval.

Final approval, according to KSL-FM, Salt Lake City, Utah, should come in 10 days barring unforeseen circumstances. The Idaho Conservation league, the Nez Perce Tribe, and an Asotin resident are seeking a public comment period for an air quality permit for Clearwater Paper in Lewiston.

The Lewiston Tribune reported that the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley's largest employer is requesting the permit so it can move forward with a $160 million project that includes a new chip pulp digester.

A spokesman for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality said that Clearwater Paper could receive a draft of the permit as early as Thursday. Company officials will have 10 days to review the draft before a 30-day comment period.

The Idaho Conservation League and the Nez Perce Tribe indicated separately they are seeking the comment period so they will be able to review the draft permit, not because they have specific concerns.

Clearwater would save $4.2 million on property taxes in the five years the abatement would be in place, compared with the $3.36 million in annual property taxes paid for the Lewiston plant in 2014.

The new digester would replace decades-old equipment. It would not create any new jobs and a Clearwater spokesman said the company would not close the Lewiston plant if they put the digester elsewhere
 

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