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Business and Economy

Biofuel Plant Given OK to Build in Hampden

The developers of a proposed $69 million biofuel, trash-to-energy plant have been given the go-ahead for construction from the Hampden Planning Board and are now moving to secure financing for the facility.

After lengthy deliberations Tuesday night, the planning board granted site-plan and conditional-use approval for the plant to Fiberight LLC and its partner in the venture, the Municipal Review Committee, which represents nearly 200 communities concerned about waste disposal.

Planning Board Chairman Peter Weatherbee said the project review was the most exhaustive he’s seen.

“I’ve been on the Planning Board for 12 or 15 years and this is by far the most important issue the town has faced,” he said. “It’s a new process, but I’m confident that it’s going to work from the information that they’ve given us.”

Fiberight CEO Craig Stuart-Paul said he felt his project had been given a fair review by the board.

“Now we have all the licenses and the conditions present and defined,” he said. “Now we go to our financiers, we finalize all our documents. Once we’ve received those documents, 30 days thereafter we can start construction.”

Critics of the plan have argued that the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. in Orrington is a better choice because Fiberight’s biofuel process remains unproven in the United States.

The Fiberight plant would be operated by Covanta Environmental Solutions of New Jersey.