French Town Technology and Industrial Center

News

FRENCHTOWN, MONT., May 23, 2013 . . . M2Green Redevelopment, LLC, owners of the Frenchtown Technology & Industrial Center in Frenchtown, Mont., today responded to a recent announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of their proposal to add the property (formerly a Smurfit-Stone Mill) to the Superfund National Priorities List.

According to Ray Stillwell, member/manager of M2Green Redevelopment, LLC, owner of the property since May 2011, “Our goal remains the same since we purchased the property– to create jobs and opportunities for the Missoula area. We remain diligent in our efforts to accomplish these goals in an environmentally responsible manner but know that there are alternative oversight programs available that are just as thorough at the State level that would help us repopulate the site without the red tape and stigma associated with a NPL designation.  There is no doubt that the NPL designation will hinder sustainable job creation and redevelopment.”

Stillwell and his staff have been working diligently over the past few months, since talk of an NPL designation surfaced last December, to garner support for a State-managed clean up program for the site, hoping to avoid the NPL designation.  Stillwell adds, “In Illinois, we have experience in managing environmental remediation efforts at the State level and have recently received a No Further Action letter from the State of Ohio on our clean up efforts there. We are experienced in environmental remediation and continue to be good stewards of the environment and federal resources that we also wanted for our property in Montana.”

A 60-day public comment period about the proposed listing begins on Thurs., May 23, 2013. “We still have an opportunity to weigh in on this issue and encourage the EPA to keep the property off the list, helping us repopulate and create jobs much faster. We can do the clean up under state oversight and do it in a responsible way. It can be done and has been done by us in other parts of the country.”

None of the other six former paper mill sites owned by Green Investment Group or its affiliates, like M2Green Redevelopment, has ever been designated as a Superfund site but have faced equivalent environmental challenges.

In a preliminary assessment of the site in Frenchtown, the EPA identified “potential sources of contamination” within limited areas of the 3,200-acre site, but that “sampling data does not indicate an emergency situation currently exists.”  Further, according to the EPA’s findings they “do not believe there is an imminent human health danger posed by the site.”  

Since purchasing the property, M2Green Redevelopment has analyzed and repurposed many of the site’s assets, prepared a rail line agreement with Montana Rail Link and entertained interest from several prospects who believe the property has potential for their business expansion or relocation.  Despite talk of a Superfund designation, M2Green Redevelopment is continuing with its redevelopment efforts.

“This is a very marketable site and we have already sold one parcel of land to a local rancher and have already had many prospects interested in development opportunities.  Currently, there are job-creating opportunities that are now hesitant to proceed due to the uncertainty associated with the potential listing on the NPL ” Stillwell added.

Stillwell stressed the fact that while the Frenchtown mill site may have some environmental challenges, it is not unexpected of an industrial site with a history in pulp and paper.  “We specialize in this particular type of property and have remediated and redeveloped similar properties in the United States and in Canada. We have extensive and specialized expertise in environmental remediation and have created jobs and turned local economies around in other communities.  We have a track record in redevelopment of properties that have thrown down more challenging road blocks than those in Frenchtown.”