Permit approved for straw pulp plant near Starbuck

Walla Walla Union-BulletinMay 22, 2014 

DAYTON -- Columbia Pulp is one step closer to building a large straw pulp processing plant outside of Starbuck.

Columbia County approved the company's conditional use permit application after a public hearing May 9. The Dayton-based company plans to build and operate an industrial plant producing 140,000 tons of straw pulp and other products per year.

The facility would be built near the Snake River along Highway 261 west of Starbuck.

Five members of the public testified at the hearing, all in support of the project. Several were farmers who said they would benefit from being able to sell grain stubble to the plant, and several spoke about new jobs the plant would bring to the area.

Columbia County resident Jim Peterson raised a concern that area schools might be affected by an influx of new workers and their families to the area, but was still in favor of the project.

The hearing examiner's decision, issued Monday, included conditions that Columbia Pulp obtain all required state, federal and local permits, and construct a water reservoir on-site for fire flow.

Columbia Pulp CEO John Begley said the company is in the process of obtaining necessary permits and plans to have everything completed by mid-fall so the company can begin site preparation.

Construction of the plant is scheduled to begin in early 2015, with operations beginning in time for the 2015 wheat harvest.

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