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Recent Economic Successes in Aroostook County
By Dan Rafter Communications Director
Oct 3, 2014 - 10:10:11 AM

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud is highlighting a series of economic success stories in Aroostook County as examples of formulas for protecting and strengthening Maine's industrial communities. This morning, J.D. Irving opened a new sawmill in Nashville Plantation, which boasts state-of-the-art technology and brings critical upgrades to the region's rail infrastructure. About 60 new jobs have been created at the sawmill, and J.D. Irving estimates another 125 hires over the next two years for its Maine woodlands and sawmill operations.

In Ashland, officials today marked the re-opening of the ReEnergy facility, which converts biomass to energy; and the start-up of a new Ecoshel cedar shingle production facility. Both facilities are expected to create new jobs for the region. Earlier this fall, the region's infrastructure got a boost from the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) with a $226,000 grant for upgrading a section of highway critical to transporting goods in and out of the town. Michaud authored the legislation creating the NBRC in 2007.

"There's no doubt that many of our communities are experiencing painful challenges -- but the success stories we're seeing in Ashland today are reminders that Mainers remain among the most innovative, skilled and hardworking professionals around the world," said Michaud. "The new Irving mill isn't just creating new jobs and strengthening the region's rail infrastructure, it's also utilizing state-of-the-art technology that allows both rough cut and dry planed wood to be mixed together. To me, it's a powerful reminder that we are still innovating and succeeding in industries where we have a long and proud history."

Michaud spoke with Jim Irving earlier this week to congratulate him on the sawmill's opening, and to offer his support for a successful partnership moving forward.

"The re-opening of the ReEnergy facility and the start-up of work at Ecoshel are a testament to the dedication and determination of community leaders in Ashland," added Michaud. "Their actions are driving the local economy -- and, in turn the state's economy -- forward. I'm also pleased that Northern Border Regional Commission funds are assisting with local infrastructure upgrades that will aid the region's economic growth. That is exactly how I envisioned the program working when I authored it several years ago in Congress."

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