Gov. Inslee cancels appearance at Port Angeles biomass ceremony

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Gov. Jay Inslee has canceled his appearance Friday at the private ribbon-cutting ceremony for Nippon Paper Industries USA’s new biomass cogeneration plant.

Inslee instead will at-tend a memorial service for former U.S. House Speaker Tom Foley at 11 a.m. at Gonzaga University in Spokane.

“Given that Speaker Foley’s service is scheduled for that same afternoon in Spokane, we had to change the governor’s schedule,” Jaime Smith, Inslee’s spokeswoman, said Monday in an email.

“He won’t be able to make it to Port Angeles, unfortunately.”

Inslee’s South Sound regional representative David Westbrook is expected to attend the ceremony on behalf of the governor but will not give a presentation, Inslee spokeswoman Lisa Harper said Tuesday.

Foley, also a former U.S. ambassador to Japan, died Oct. 18 of complications from strokes at age 84.

A Spokane native, he served 30 years in the House.

Friday’s ceremony was believed to be the first time Inslee would be on the North Olympic Peninsula since he was elected.

Others planning to attend include Clallam County Commissioners Jim McEntire, Mike Chapman and Mike Doherty, and Port Angeles Mayor Cherie Kidd.

Plant Manager Harold Norlund did not return calls for comment Tuesday morning about the ceremony.

The event at Nippon’s Ediz Hook paper-making plant west of downtown Port Angeles will mark the cogeneration plant’s eventual full start-up later this month, Norlund said in an earlier interview.

The $85 million project entails burning forest slash and other woody debris to generate steam for the factory and 20 megawatts of electricity for sale on the open market.

The project’s new boiler replaces one that is not now used to generate electricity.

The electricity will be used by the plant for two months, after which the power will be sold, Norlund said.

The project has been opposed by environmentalists concerned about the unregulated ultrafine particles that will be created by burning the biomass.

Norlund has stressed that the project is fully permitted and has cleared every legal and environmental hurdle put in its path.

Tests on the plant’s new systems began in late August and should be completed later in November, at which time the plant will start creating electricity, Norlund has said.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 29. 2013 6:22PM
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