Agreement reached

Tyrone’s paper mill is one step closer to opening.
That’s because Team Ten LLC, the mill operator, Blair County Development Corporation and the borough agreed yesterday to all necessary conditions to allow the issuing of a permit for industrial waste.
Last week, Tyrone Borough Council held its ground by reaffirming the conditions of an agreement drawn up in August of this year. Those papers remained unsigned until yesterday. Officials from both sides met in late October but could not come to an agreement on the amount of baseline sewage and assignability rights.
Under the August agreement, Team Ten was given 2.5 million gallons. Originally, the group had asked for three million gallons plus the one million gallon the company had bought at the plant. An additional 500,000 gallons can be assigned to the mill.
At last week’s meeting, two motions were brought forth, one dealing with additional capacity. At the time, the borough reiterated the stance that if someone came to the borough asking for additional capacity, it would be part of the understanding it has with Team Ten.
That motion passed unanimously and did not grant any additional capacity than what the borough had stated it was agreeable to in an August letter to company officials.
The other motion dealt with the issue of assignability. Team Ten wanted the option to assign capacity if it sold the mill; however, Tyrone Borough was not agreeable to that condition.
The announcement came in a brief statement from borough solicitor Larry Clapper who said officials from all sides had signed the agreement earlier Monday and a permit had been issued.
“Borough officials came to my office along with Blair County Development Corporation officials and inked the agreement that we reached in August of this year,” said solicitor Clapper after last night’s meeting.
When asked when the paper mill would open, Clapper indicated that with the issuance of the permit for industrial waste, the mill could now open at any time.
Solicitor Clapper also explained the involvement of Blair County Development Corporation as owner of the plant.
“It was used as a financing vehicle to obtain government funding that is not available to private business owners,” Clapper told The Daily Herald. “BCDC obtains financing from state and federal governments that allows them to buy and open the mill.”
Team Ten will now have to get permanent financing to pay off Blair County Development Corporation and then become the actual owner of the paper mill. Right now, Team Ten LLC is the operator of the plant – not the owner.
The agreement signed on Monday was necessary to allow the governing body, Tyrone Borough, the ability to issue a permit to allow the discharge of industrial waste into the sewage treatment facility. Federal law required the agreement before Tyrone Borough could grant the permit.
“It’s something that had to happen,” said Team Ten LLC president John Ferner. “I’m happy that an agreement was signed and we’re ready to start manufacturing at the plant.”
Ferner said there are already 140 people working in the plant and said paper production should start sometime this week. When the American Eagle Paper Mill does begin full operations it should have about 170 employees at the facility.
Ferner previously stated that an average of $14 an hour would be paid to employees and that would pump about $5 million annually into the local economy.
The Tyrone mill opened in 1880 and was originally purchased by the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company in 1889. The mill nearly closed in 1970, causing the company to place a full-page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal on behalf of Tyrone, “A Town for Hire.”
The West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company moved the pulp and flakeboard operations to Wickliffe, Ky. and the work force at the Tyrone plant was cut from a high of near 1,000 to 300.
Before closing in October 2001, Westvaco’s Tyrone plant produced 100,000 tons a year of coated and uncoated paper. Production from the Tyrone plant was moved to the paper mills in Luke, Md. and Wickliffe, Ky.
The American Eagle Paper Mills will be a manufacturer of uncoated fine papers and is expected to be open later this week.
Initial orders are already in place and Team Ten LLC will conduct operation at the Tyrone Mill location to meet the demand for uncoated paper products in the Middle-Atlantic and Midwest regions.
The company’s initial product line will include American Eagle Envelope, Silver Spring Envelope, High D Reply Stock, Virgin Envelope and the American Eagle Outlet.
These products will serve magazine and book publishing, commercial printers, envelope converters and business form markets. Team Ten’s objective is to offer high-quality, uncoated paper for a commercial paper converting industry at a price which is competitive with other paper manufacturers.