County is all in for $700,000

By Vicki Hyatt | Apr 07, 2014
Photo by: DeeAnna Haney Haywood County will contribute $700,00 toward getting natural gas to the Canton paper mill, and the N.C. Department of Commerce will contribute $2.1 million. Evergreen Packaging has said it will put up $50 million  for the environmental upgrade, which leaves a $12 million deficit, which the state of North Carolina has been asked to contribute.

The Haywood County Board of Commissioners took official action on a proposed $700,000 county contribution of upgrade natural gas capacity — an action that will directly benefit Evergreen Packing, Inc.

Canton’s paper mill is facing a $64.8 million environmental upgrade, and part of the answer is converting two boilers to natural gas. Company officials have asked county and state leaders for assistance, and the first step of fulfilling the request officially occurred Monday at the county board meeting.

On March 3, the county learned that a $2.8 million N.C. Department of Commerce grant had been awarded providing the county puts up $700,000 in matching funds. The board unanimously approved sending a letter to the department with a copy to Evergreen Packaging, stating the county approved the grant terms.

Commissioner Kevin Ensley said the action will help more than just the mill.

“To me, natural gas is the fuel for America’s future, and we are being very proactive going after it,” he said.

Ensley said natural gas is a much cleaner, efficient fuel and increasing its capacity will add needed infrastructure in the county.

Commissioner Bill Upton said the broader message being communicated is that the county wants Evergreen to stay in the county.

Commissioner Mike Sorrells said the mill provides good-paying jobs — ones that would be hard to get back if they were lost.

“There are a lot of moving parts to this,” Sorrells said, noting Mark Clasby, the county’s economic development director, has worked hard to put together a package to help the plant with the upgrade expenses.

“If everything works out, we will have Evergreen here for a while,” he added.

“Economic development is not just attracting new jobs,” stressed Haywood County Commission Chairman Mark Swanger, “it is keeping the jobs you have.”

Swanger recalled that 15 or 20 years ago, there was such a haze in Haywood County that it was hard to see the mountaintops.

“When was the last time we had that?” he asked. “This is all part of the process.”

Swanger noted that the county has done what it has been asked to do in helping a major employer in the county and noted the mill has authorized spending funds for the necessary engineering for a conversion.

While Evergreen has pledged to contribute $50 million for the project, that still leaves a $12 million shortfall that state legislators representing Haywood are trying hard to bring to the table.

Whether that will be possible should be clear this summer after the short legislative session adjourns.



Comments (5)
Posted by: Scott Lilly | Apr 07, 2014 22:39

It's hard to give an opinion on this one:


1) Taxpayer money being taken to benefit a private company  (corporate welfare?)

2) No clue what the natural gas company will contribute or benefit from the conversion

3) If Evergreen can't come up with the funds it takes to convert, then it won't have the funds it will take to move elsewhere.

4) Big government caused this problem -- but leaves it up to local government to solve this problem.  Is it easier/cheaper to setup a paper mill in Mexico or China where these pollution rules don't exist?  Ask you local politician if they make it more difficult or less difficult to compete in the global marketplace while making our air cleaner.  It's really a hard thing to wrap your brain around.

Posted by: Grass Roots WNC | Apr 18, 2014 12:31

President Obama can sweep away regulations in the new Health care tax with the stroke of a pen - why can't he sweep away EPA regulations that are costing us Jobs in Haywood County... all we need is a "waiver". Isn't that the new way to do business with the federal government... exemptions... special favors... waivers?

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Apr 18, 2014 14:56

              The mill can appeal any ruling by any Govt. agency.

              There is no need to transfer the cost of their compliance to US. Except thru increase in price of the products they produce.

              Compliance with common sense regulations that protects We the people from pollutants is an expense any worthwhile company should reddily embrace. This should have been taken care of years ago. That OUR EPA is enforcing laws in OUR behalf is not something to complain about.

               Any company or individual that outsources to avoid OUR laws needs to have all assets confiscated, citizenship revoked, tried for treason, if found guilty publicly executed. But yet republicans ran one of the worst offenders of outsourcing for president.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Apr 18, 2014 15:48

Somebody has been watching too much MSNBC!


Happy Good Friday!

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Apr 19, 2014 09:02

                I predicted something like 9-11 would be necessary if g.w. was elected and his presidency faltered. I pointed out in Citizen=Times before he attacked Iraq that no terrorist had ever attacked OUR Constitution, he had(phone tapped for that). I posted that a WAR crimes tribunal be commissioned to assess miss-deeds like in post WW1 and 2, that all guilty of violating OUR Constitutionally protected human rights such as torture should be publicly executed on the steps of the Capitol where their corpses should be allowed to rot as a reminder for future generations.

                 As Goldwater pointed out 'extremism in the support of Liberty is no vice...

                 The idea that a venture capitalist can take control of a US company employing US people, buy controlling interest, sell the assets including workers pension funds, outsource the business to another country, whereby business now sells its products to US as a foreign company, while writing the expense off, etc, etc, just makes my blood boil. After "rayguns" changed accounting regulations allowing city-slickers to "invest" in farmers, I had a man try to buy into my farm. All the while pretending to be my new best friend. It was not hard to see he was acting in behalf of a new neighbor that had bought a farm across the road from my biggest field that had also tried to interfere with my loan institution by pressuring my loan officer to put the squeeze on me. This same clown was a notorious peeping tom who was caught many times with local police giving him "one last warning" instead of arresting him. Eventually married first wife, which was as it turns out a favor to me, seems they were caught exiting his cab-over International truck in the parking lot of the church we got married in. She evidently forgot they had evening services. Her parents, grandparents, cousins, neighbors, preacher were not amused. Parents high-dollar lawyer quit her and she had no representation at our disalusionment. Cost her greatly.

               As a Jefferson/Payne/ Washington Deist/Unitarian I consider the trinity to be the greatest lie ever told. I do not "celebrate" anything to do with it.

              It was word-worshipping conservative Fundamentalist that killed the liberal Jesus of Nazareth for challenging their proscriptions/practices. Their excuse was his preaching/working on Sunday.



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