The Coastal Resources of Maine waste-to-energy plant in Hampden is seen in operation in 2019. The plant later closed for financial reasons. The Municipal Review Committee continues to look for a partner to finance the reopening of the plant. Courtesy of Fiberight/Coastal Resources of Maine

The nonprofit entity representing the solid waste interests of 115 Maine municipalities is once again pursuing potential partners to help reopen, operate and partially own the shuttered waste-to-energy plant in Hampden after an agreement with a New York-based investment firm fell through.

Members of the Municipal Review Committee in a Zoom meeting Tuesday said Revere Capital Partners is still interested and working toward closing on a deal for the plant, but the committee couldn’t wait any longer and had to end its exclusivity agreement Jan. 31 given MRC’s limited financial capacity.

MRC’s board president, Karen Fussell, said the agreement with Revere ended without a definitive purchase agreement or timeline, and the committee is pursuing capitalization options to reopen the plant, which is called Municipal Waste Solutions.

Revere had expressed confidence it would be able to close the deal early this year after completing an engineering report examining plans to reopen the plant, but that study has not been done.

MRC’s executive director, Michael Carroll, said Tuesday that the MRC sent out 10 proposal letters Friday to entities that had been interested in partnering on the plant. The letter outlines goals and tasks, business terms and details of the solicitation process and says MRC is open to ideas on making modifications to equipment, reconfiguring equipment and other changes.

Carroll said the MRC has set an aggressive timeline on solicitations, asking that responses be received by Feb. 20, a partner named by March 1 and a final closing to occur in mid-April, allowing for a 45-day exclusivity period starting March 1.


“Time is of the essence for us,” Carroll said.

He said MRC finances are fine for the time being and if that were to change, the committee would give its members adequate notice. Meanwhile, he and committee members are urging member municipalities, including councilors and selectpersons, to contact legislators to impress on them the state’s dire waste picture, with a state Department of Environmental Protection report saying there is little landfill capacity left in Maine. The Hampden plant must reopen so items can be recycled and waste can be diverted from landfills and used for other purposes.

“We really have no other option,” Carroll said.

Fussell, who is finance director for the city of Brewer, said the MRC has reached out to Augusta for support, and member municipalities will be approached to see if they will offer credit guarantees for financing to ensure the plant reopens. Without the facility, municipalities’ only likely option is landfilling, she said.

“We have no more time that we can spend hoping to find a solution,” she said. “It’s looking more and more like the solution is us.”

MRC board member Aaron Huotari, Bangor public works director, said it is not discussed enough that 115 municipalities banded together to try to ensure their waste is not placed in landfills and smaller communities don’t have the volume of waste to operate on their own. The facility has proven it works well, according to Huotari.


“It does work and it provides all of us the opportunity to do the right thing with all our waste,” he said.

Oakland Town Manager Ella Bowman said her town processes 5.5 tons of trash every day and having the Hampden facility open is critical.

“This is something that we really need to do for the environment, and it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

The committee created Municipal Waste Solutions last year and purchased the facility in August for $1.5 million. In July it had entered into an exclusive arrangement with Revere for potential investment to restart the facility, with the intent of closing on the partnership last fall. The agreement was extended and even after exclusivity ended, MRC welcomed Revere to continue to work toward a partnership. Under the draft terms, Revere would provide the capital needed to restart and operate the facility and would be majority partner.

The facility closed for financial reasons in May 2020. Coastal Resources of Maine, whose name the committee changed to Municipal Waste Solutions, was formed by the international company Fiberight to finance, run and operate the plant. With its closure, about 25% of MRC members’ waste is taken to the Waste Management landfill in Norridgewock, and the other 75% goes to Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. in Orrington.

Carroll said in December that if Revere became a partner, the committee would continue to own the land under the plant and receive lease payments from Revere. Revere submitted a $400,000 down payment for exclusivity rights and the committee was awarded more than $42,000 in grants for staffing and education, Carroll said.

The MRC is made up of town managers, selectmen, directors of public works and other officials from member towns that joined together to ensure the long-term, environmentally sound and affordable disposal of their municipal solid waste.

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