Cohasset Mayor: Loss Of Huber Timber Plant Development ‘Devastating’
DULUTH, Minn. – “Frustrated, disappointed and angry.” Those were the words from Cohasset Mayor Andy MacDonell Thursday after learning plans for a $440 million timber plant have fallen through.
Huber Engineered Wood said in a statement the company can’t handle any more delays in getting approved for the new Oriented Strand Board facility.
“Due to delays that jeopardize our ability to meet product demand deadlines, we will pursue development of our sixth mill in another state. We will be seeking a new location where we can produce critical home building products that are desired by American home builders and homeowners in a timely manner and consistent with Huber’s environmental and social commitments,” said HEW President Brian Carlson.
Mayor MacDonell said Huber has faced many roadblocks in the form of permitting and legal challenges from environmental organizations.
“This is a devastating day for our community, our region, and our state,” MacDonell said. “The Huber project was central to our city’s strategy to diversify our tax base and create high-quality jobs in the face of the massive losses we will see when the Boswell Plant retires.”
“Today’s announcement makes one thing crystal clear: Cohasset cannot overcome the retirement of the Boswell plant alone. It is now more critical than ever that the Governor, the legislature, and all our regional partners bring every resource they can to the table to support our community through this transition,” MacDonell said.
The Huber mill would have brought more than 150 good-paying jobs, according to MacDonell.
It was supposed to offset the loss of jobs and tax base when Minnesota Power’s Clay Boswell coal-fired power plant ends its coal operations in Cohasset by 2035.
The Boswell plant makes up about 55 percent of the city’s tax base and contributes to the county and school district’s tax bases.
So without Boswell, MacDonnel said the result will be devastating.