If the Samoa Acquisition Company does not close escrow tomorrow at 5pm, the Pulp Mill will most likely fall into bankruptcy. That will be all folks. That will pretty much close the chapter on the plant.
Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District Director Tera Prusha reported yesterday at the Special Water Board meeting that Assembly member Wes Chesbro had spoken publicly about turning the plant into a recycle center. (Huh? What kind of recycle plant?) Director Bruce Rupp asked if Wes was drinking when he made that statement. Tera also asked about the zoning aspects of the property and what permits were transferable. (Chesbro Field Rep Andrew Bird e-mailed this follow-up: Tera may have misunderstood a conversation with Wesley. Wesley remembers having a conversation with Tera in which he recalled to her back in the 1990s when the Simpson Mill closed he had attempted to facilitate locating a recycled paper plant at the mill site. There was a company looking to locate a plant to produce paper from recycled materials in California. The company was looking at West Sacramento, but was having permitting problems. So Wesley held some talks with that company and the Simpson Mill folks about locating the plant in Samoa at the Simpson site, which had an existing water supply and port access. The talks didn’t go anywhere.)
There is the possibility that Evergreen can restructure after bankruptcy and restart the plant at a later date. Not very likely.
No other potential buyers seem to be out there. So I am sure the water will be shut off and the ratepayers will take the burden of the $200,000 per month shortfall. (With 80,000 customers a raise of $3 per month would generate $240,000. That should cover it, right?)
Let us hope that Bob Simpson can pull this sale off. Looks like the only hope now.