CONCORD, N.H. — A proposal to convert part of a shuttered North Country paper mill into a transfer station for natural gas could create more than 80 jobs and cut the town of Groveton’s tax bills in half.

Clear Energy of Marlborough, Mass., an energy development company, made a pitch to the town last month to use 8 acres on the former Wausau paper plant to convert natural gas into liquefied natural gas that would then be trucked to consumers in southern New England. If approved, the project could bring $1.7 million a year in taxes and double the current tax base in the rural town north of White Mountain National Forest.

“It’s huge,” said Benoit Lamontagne, the North Country regional specialist for the state’s Division of Resources and Economic Development. “Eighty-four jobs is huge. Two jobs are great up here. We knock ourselves out to make these kinds of job opportunities happen.”

The plant would use gas supplied by the Portland Natural Gas Transmission System pipeline, which has a meter in Groveton, and each day would produce up to 300,000 gallons of liquefied natural gas, a cleaner-burning and relatively safe fuel. From there, tanker trucks would haul the gas to industrial users in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

A spokeswoman for the Portland Natural Gas Transmission System confirmed the supplier is working with Clear Energy.

“Clear Energy is one of several interested parties we are working with to increase capacity on the PNGTS pipeline system to bring additional, diverse natural gas supply options to the underserved markets in New England and Atlantic Canada,” Gretchen Dewailly Krueger said.


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