Strengthening Northern Ontario Pulp And Paper Mills
Support For Forest Sector Passes $1 Billion With Plan To Help Northern Pulp And Paper Mills Cut Energy Costs By 15 Per Cent
The Ontario government is helping northern pulp and paper mills achieve energy efficiency and sustainability by offering rebates that could reduce the electricity costs of participating companies by 15 per cent over the next three years, Premier Dalton McGuinty announced today.
"Ontario's forest sector plays a key role in supporting families and communities across northern Ontario," said Premier Dalton McGuinty. "That's why we continue to look for ways to strengthen the sector and make it more competitive."
The Northern Pulp and Paper Electricity Transition program will provide quarterly electricity price rebates for northern pulp and paper mills that purchase a minimum of 50,000 megawatt hours annually and commit to increased energy efficiency.
"Electricity is a major operating cost for large northern pulp and paper mills," said Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay. "This program will provide a transition period to help them boost their competitiveness and energy efficiency."
"This is another example of our commitment to northern Ontario," said MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North Michael Gravelle. "By helping the forest industry through this transition period, we are supporting the economies of northern communities."
"Today's announcement is the latest in a series of efforts on our government's part to ensure the competitiveness of our forest sector," said Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan. "More affordable power over a predictable period is a big help to our pulp and paper mills."
The $140-million program is just the latest example of how the McGuinty government is working to create a stronger and more prosperous north.
Other initiatives in t he McGuinty government's multi-year, $1-billion forest sector prosperity package that have been previously announced include:
- $350 million in loan guarantees to stimulate new investment in value-added manufacturing, energy conservation and energy co-generation
- $150 million over three years through the Forest Sector Prosperity Fund to leverage new capital investments
- $75 million annually for the construction and maintenance costs of primary and secondary forest access roads
- $70 million in a one-time stumpage fee refund for 2005/06
- $10 million per year to enhance the Forest Resource Inventory
- $3 million a year to reduce timber fees for poplar veneer and white birch
- $1 million per year in an Ontario Wood Promotion program to enhance value-added manufacturing.
"We're forging a vision of a strong, sustainable forest sector that supports northern and rural communities and Ontario families," said Premier McGuinty. "Working together, I know we can achieve our vision."