SHARECOMMENTMORE

AUGUSTA, Maine --- Joy came for leaders in the Katahdin region on Thursday as needed financing has now been approved for a project that could bring many jobs back to the area.

After much debate directors of the Finance Authority of Maine or FAME voted to pass a $25 million guaranteed loan in support of the Thermogen project. Thermogen isCate Street Capital's plan to build a wood pellet plant on the site of the old paper mill inMillinocket, which has been closed for 5 years.

Cate Street plans to make torrefied wood at the plant, which is energy rich pellets that officials say will soon be in demand in the energy industry. Before the votecame at FAME's headquarters in Augusta, some of its directors were firmly against the loan. They expressed concern that the market for the pellets is unproven and Cate Street might not be able to pay the loan back. Yet other members of the boarddisagreed.

"This company {Cate Street}is willing to move forward with some innovative ideas that helps our forest products industry move forward," said George Gervais, who is a member of the board as well asthe state'scommissionerof economic and community development, "We need to do that."

A spokesman for Cate Street says once running Thermogen could employ up to 36 peopleand evenexpand its workforce from thereif business is successful. The company is aiming to break ground on the new plant by the end of the year.