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Lack of a demolition permit is an issue at Groveton mill site

January 16, 2013
GROVETON — The current owner of the combined former Wausau and Groveton Paper Board site believes that it has its paperwork and permits in order to allow it to continue to demolish the mill buildings.

"(There are) no issues with permitting," wrote Eric Wnuck, a managing member of Green Steel, LLC, of Scottsdale, Ariz., in an e-mail exchange. "We have an asbestos removal contractor staging right now with anticipation of the waiting permit expiring tomorrow (Jan. 14) and the abatement permit becoming effective. This permit was submitted to DES at the end of Dec. 2012.

"There has been no stoppage of demolition or hindering of our progress at the Groveton site," Wnuck continued.

"As a matter of fact, we have had positive conversations with companies that are interested in relocating to the Groveton site; we and the North County area will be excited to see where the conversation leads."

Spokesman Jim Martin of the state Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) in both an e-mail exchange and phone interview explained that the company does not have the needed demolition permit in hand.

"I reconfirmed this morning that we (NHDES) are still waiting on information from them (Green Steel)," Martin explained on Monday. "They have submitted some information to us, so that may be what they are referring to."

Last week, Martin confirmed in a phone interview that Green Steel had begun demolition work on Dec. 11 without a routine demolition permit in hand. The company operates locally under the name Groveton NH1.

A photograph published in the Dec. 19 issue of this newspaper under the headline "Hassan sees mill demolition underway" apparently sent NHDES employees to checking their files to see if the state agency had issued a permit, which turned out not to be the case.

GREAT president Brian Bresnahan said that he has seen a copy of a federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permit, however.

Nonetheless, New Hampshire requires a state permit as apparently is the case in nearly every state.

The subject came up at the Jan. 9 Northumberland Planning Board meeting (see related article) after the town select board agreed to advise that board not to grant Groveton Acquisition's requests for lot line adjustments and a minor subdivision. The state had apparently notified the town office that demolition work could not continue without a state permit.

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