Debate continues over proposed biofuel plant - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Debate continues over proposed biofuel plant

 By Anna Carrera - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

ROTHSCHILD (WAOW) -- The final public hearing for a controversial biomass project took place on Tuesday in Rothschild.

Community leaders began the discussion about converting the Domtar paper mill at 1 PM. After taking a break, they continued the hearing at 6 PM.

In the beginning, lots of people were against this project. Now leaders with We Energies said they see much more support from other community members.

People came to discuss both sides of the issue at the hearing at the Holiday Inn in Rothschild.

"If we do get approval for the project, we have very positive image of the project and very positive going forward and I think its going to be very helpful from the community," said We Energies Spokesperson Brian Manthey.

Project leaders said it will bring hundreds of jobs to the community.

"More and more people ask the questions," said Manthey. "They find out answers and realize this is a project that is good for the community so we have really seen a really big change in that over the last few months."

Some people in the area said they still have unanswered questions.

"Whenever we asked questions of We Energy, we were given answers that were words but not answers to our questions," said Rothschild resident Darwin Gregerson. "It seemed like they were avoiding what was going to happen because of the sulfur dioxide in the air."

People who still oppose the project said they're concerned about the environment and how chemicals in the air could affect elderly people, children and people with health problems.

"There isn't a dire need for more energy and not in the near future even," said Gregerson. "The only reason they're building this is because of federal and state mandates that have been implied on power companies."

This afternoon's hearing lasted two hours.

Online Reporter: Anna Carrera

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