Skip to content

Collins, King Announce $1.7 Million to Support Maine Forest Products Economy

Washington, D.C.— U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King have announced a federal grant to support Maine’s forest products economy. The $1,745,869 in funding through the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) as a part of the Forest Economy Program (FEP) aims to bolster regional forestry while promoting industry innovation. The University of Maine will be receiving $745,869 for sustainable forest-based products packaging and Our Katahdin will be receiving $1 million for critical water infrastructure updates.

The NBRC, created with the support of both Senators Collins and King, was formed by Congress in 2008 to fund economic and community development projects in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. The commission’s recent FEP projects aims to support forest-based economies in northeastern states to assist their evolution to include new technologies.

“Maine’s forest products economy has deep roots in our state’s history, culture, and economic success,” said Senators Collins and King. “This federal funding, provided through the Northern Border Regional Commission, will fuel projects at the University of Maine and Our Katahdin to help ensure our state’s forest-economy continues to adapt to an evolving technological and environmental landscape. If anyone knows the value of planting seeds for a prosperous future, it’s Maine’s forest products industry that is out there working the forests, and creating jobs, for the continued success of our communities and our state economy.”

More specifically, the funding will be used as follows:

  • University of Maine (Orono, ME) – $745,869: This project aims to accelerate the transition from plastics to more sustainable, recyclable, and biodegradable forest-based packaging in the consumer product sector. This will be achieved through rapid prototyping and the development of a pilot scale production of high-value molded pulp products.
  • Our Katahdin (Millinocket, ME) – $1,000,000: Awarded funds will be used to support critical water infrastructure needs, which support ongoing efforts to revitalize the 1,400-acre former Great Northern Paper mill site in Millinocket.

Senators Collins and King were instrumental in establishing the Forest Opportunity Roadmap (FOR/Maine) Initiative, an industry-led initiative that is helping to diversify the state’s wood products businesses, attract investments, and develop greater economic prosperity for rural communities impacted by mill closures. The FOR/Maine Initiative was funded in part by the Economic Development Assessment Team (EDAT) requested by the Senators in 2016 in order to create strategies for job growth and economic development in Maine’s rural communities. The EDAT recommended the development of new markets for Maine’s forest resources, including the strengthening of existing forest products manufacturing, the attraction of investment in emerging technology, and the utilization of forest products residuals in CHP biomass plants, microgrids, modern thermal systems, and new forest products development.

In 2023, Senator Collins introduced and Senator King co-sponsored a bill to reauthorize and strengthen the NBRC.