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NC taxpayers to spend $12M for plant to meet code

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 20, 2014 at 4:57 pm •  Published: August 20, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Taxpayers will help one of the largest industrial employers and worst polluters in western North Carolina get cleaner to stay in production.

The state House on Wednesday gave final approval to sending $12 million in aid from taxpayers to the Evergreen Packaging paper mill in Haywood County. Mountain lawmakers said the money was needed to preserve about 1,000 jobs and about $100 million in annual payroll that circulates through the local economy.

Evergreen Packaging wanted the money to replace two coal-fired boilers with natural gas-powered units costing $50 million. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is forcing it to replace its coal-fired boiler at a cost the company estimates at $50 million. Evergreen must comply with the new boiler regulations by 2016.

The company makes fiber-based drink packaging and paper products.