Whitmer signs legislation to fund upgrade to Billerud mill in Delta County

$200m in state money will support the Wells Township paper mill's renovations
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 9:53 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 1, 2023 at 9:38 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Governor Whitmer signed state senate bill 7 Tuesday morning which allocates money for affordable housing, job-making efforts and business investments.

A portion of the bill approved $200 million for the Billerud Paper Mill in Wells Township.

“We are taking a step forward to grow our economy, invest in our communities and build a bright future here in Michigan, for Michigan and everyone who calls this great state home,” Whitmer said. “I am excited to be signing a supplemental that will build more housing, revitalize our communities, empower entrepreneurs and support workers.”

Billerud America’s President Rob Kreizenbeck says they’re thankful to the governor and legislature and ready to turn the mill into a world-class paperboard production facility.

InvestUP CEO Marty Fittante says this is a day to remember.

“A bill of this significance is difficult anytime but when you recognize it is three or four weeks into a new term and a bill had not passed this quickly in a new term since 1947 it really talks about the strength of that partnership and the commitment and dedication of stakeholders across the state,” Fittante said.

The money will also be used to upgrade its technology so that it can produce advanced paper products.

“At the end of the day, it is in part a relief, but it is so exciting to talk about a new and emerging technology being housed right in Escanaba that will really be the cornerstone of this market for North America,” Fittante said.

Fittante says now that the investments to the mill are in place invest up will put its efforts into promoting investment in Highland Copper in Wakefield.

Last published: Jan 31, 2023

LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Tuesday morning, Governor Whitmer signed the supplemental spending bill that includes $200 million for improvements at Billerud in Wells Township.

Governor Whitmer was joined by Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II, Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks, Speaker of the House Joe Tate, and members of the Michigan legislature to sign recently passed legislation investing in affordable housing, community revitalization, and will support small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Signing Senate Bill 7 on Tuesday was the last step for the company to receive state funding for the mill expansion.

The mill just outside of Escanaba has been making paper since 1911. It’s one of the top employers in Delta County and has an estimated $360 million annual economic impact on the area.

The supplemental bill also addressed proposals that Governor Whitmer laid out in her 2023 State of the State Address, including boosting funding for apprenticeships and removing barriers for workers, such as access to child care, transportation, and other basic career services.