The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

Columbia Pulp wins excellence in development finance project award


November 14, 2019

The Washington Economic Development Finance Authority in Seattle, WA recently recognized the Columbia Pulp I project for their excellent use of financing tools for economic development.

Columbia Pulp I is a wheat straw-to-paper pulp facility in Starbuck, WA. Much farmland in the Palouse region generates extreme wheat growth density, which means post-harvest wheat straw exists in quantities too large to effectively till back into the soil. A large amount of wheat straw represents a significant regional waste issue. A significant portion of that wheat straw will go into an environmentally friendly pulping operation developed and commercialized by Columbia Pulp I. Paper pulp will be sold on the open pulp markets. One major use of the project’s output is expected to be compostable food containers and straws—a straw-to-straws winner!

Although not yet in full commercial operation, the project has brought about 100 new long-term industrial jobs to a county of 2,000 people. Project construction activity also added a powerful two-year economic stimulus to the area.

The Columbia Pulp I project was made possible by a large collection of institutions and individuals, including wheat farmers, scientists, mill specialists, institutional debt investors, equity investors, local economic development groups, tax credit providers and state and local government. The Washington Economic Development Finance Authority was able to facilitate the project’s debt financing through the issuance of $198,755,000 of Environmental Facilities Revenue Bonds. The bonds were issued in three limited sales to institutional investors, the final piece of which was issued in 2019.

The Council of Development Finance Agencies is a national association dedicated to the advancement of development finance concerns and interests.


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