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Park Falls paper mill gets grant to help create energy from pulp waste

A Park Falls papermill plans to use a $30 million federal grant to help create all the energy it uses.

The Flambeau River company is working on a first-of-its-kind facility in which pulp byproducts create the bio-fuels used in the paper-making process.

Chief Executive Officer Butch Johnson says the mill's survival hinges on the success of the project because it would make the plant immune from the rising costs of fossil fuels.

Local investors bought Flambeau River Papers and re-opened the plant two years ago. About 330 people now work there.

Johnson says the mill is just starting to make a profit, in part of due to rising energy costs. He calls them the second or third biggest expense a papermill has.

Johnson said the new owners promised to be a leader in green energy, and a new bio-fuel plant will prove it.