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Loggers say unpaid debts from bankrupt biomass company are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars

bankrupt biomass company.jpg
Darren Fishell
Stored Solar's West Enfield biomass plant is shown in 2017. The plant is one of the assets that a bankruptcy judge has ordered the company to sell to pay down debts.

A group representing Maine loggers says the recent sale of two biomass plants will do little to resolve the unpaid debts that they're owed from Stored Solar, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this fall.

The company's two biomass plants in West Enfield and Jonesboro were sold at auction last week in bankruptcy court, but the case does not address the debts owed to Stored Solar's unsecured creditors, including loggers.

"Stored Solar owes hundreds of thousands of dollars to Maine contractors going back to 2017 at this point," said Dana Doran, executive director of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine. "And those debts have never been repaid."

Stored Solar received $13 million in state support back in 2016. Doran said he's hopeful the state will be more cautious the next time it considers subsidizing a private company.

"If in the future the state wants to provide resources to a company, they [should] do the due diligence that's necessary," he said. "The process that Stored Solar went through to receive any of the funds that we worked so hard at with the state legislature ... was completely flawed, and they were provided with a path that they never should have been provided with."

Hartree Partners now owns the biomass facilities in West Enfield and Jonesboro, as well as five others in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

"Hopefully the new owners of the facility have a plan, they want to restart them, they want to work with contractors and they want to make payments on time," Doran said. "But time will tell."