Paper Mill Could Be Coming to Utah

Paper Mill Could Be Coming to Utah

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John Hollenhorst ReportingA new industry may be headed for Utah and it's quite a surprise. If it comes, it would be the Mountain West's first new paper-mill in several decades. It's been a hush-hush project until it leaked out today.

The proposed paper-mill would convert used office paper into tissue paper. It would be built in St. George by a Connecticut company, but Seattle-based Weyerhaeuser would be a principle supplier of used paper. A Weyerhaeuser executive revealed the proposal in a speech to the Utah Recycling Coalition.

Peter Grogan, Weyerhaeuser Company: “This is truly exciting. There has not been a mill sited, a recycle mill sited in the Rocky Mountain region for decades.”

Brad Mertz, Executive Director, Recycling Coalition of Utah: "This is something, with a paper mill coming, that I thought we would never, ever see in the state. Paper mills take a lot of water. And so to see that come to Utah is an amazing thing."

Although the office-paper mill would presumably be good news in St. George, the area's top economic development official told us he can't talk about it because he's under a confidentiality agreement.

The official did say he believes a paper mill's resource needs can be met in St. George, including water. Other sites are under consideration, but St. George appears to be the front-runner.

Utah has one of the lowest recycling rates in the nation. Some hope an in-state mill would give recycling a shot in the arm. A formal announcement on the paper mill may come this summer.

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