Biofuel timber decision coming soon, says Exploits MHA

Exploits MHA Jerry Dean says there should be a decision soon from the provincial government on a wood fiber allocation for a proposed biofuel operation in the Botwood area.

'Measure twice, cut once': Jerry Deal says government has to consult with other operators

Exploits MHA Jerry Dean says a decision should be coming soon from government on whether a biofuel company will get a timber allocation. (CBC file photo)

There should be news soon for a company hoping to set up a sawmill and biofuel manufacturing business in the Botwood area.

Liberal MHA, Jerry Dean, who represents the Exploits district in the House of Assembly, says a decision regarding an allocation of timber for the project will be made by the Minister of Fisheries, Forestry and Agrifoods.

"In my previous conversations with Minister [Steve] Crocker, we were sort of looking at a timeline of seven to 10 days, we're about eight days into that," Dean said.

"That was a rough timeline and that has to do with what government is preparing to present to that particular company in terms of the wood fiber request and how we go about getting there."

NewGreen Inc, a company dealing in green and sustainable energy, is the proponent of the project. It plans to invest nearly $185 million into the operation, and has requested the rights to 285 million cubic feet of wood fiber.

The project could generate dozens of much-needed jobs in the area that was hit hard by the closure of the Abitibi-Bowater paper mill in 2009.

Had to consult other sawmill operators

Dean said part of the reason for the long wait is that government has to do a thorough investigation into the project first.

"We have other proponents, local sawmill operators currently in business," he said. "Government has to ensure that whatever we do, it works hand-in-hand in creating a positive environment for both the new proposal as well as the current operators."

Dean said government needs to learn from past mistakes and do its homework before passing over valuable natural resources.

"The old carpenter's saying of 'measure twice and cut once', that is what this government is all about," he said.

"We've got to make sure that full diligence is carried out in the best interest of the province and the communities and all of the businesses that we support."

with files from the Central Morning Show