U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann has suggested the hydroelectric dam operated for so many years by a succession of paper mill companies might be run by the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers.
Bachmann paid a visit to Sartell Aug. 9 to pledge her support for unemployed Verso workers and to promise to help find some kind of use for the Verso property.
Verso shut down operations completely two weeks ago. The decision cost 259 people their jobs.
Bachmann did not elaborate on her suggestion concerning the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers but said someone whom she did not name had brought up the idea to her office staff.
Bachmann (R-Stillwater) represents Minnesota’s 6th District, which includes Sartell, in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Bachmann said federal permits required for operation of the dam could bring delays and expenses to any new use for the Verso property. For years, the paper mill has operated the hydroelectric dam under a permit from the U.S. Energy Regulatory Commission.
In vowing support for a new business or industry at the Verso site, Bachmann said she would fight to have federal permits waived in order to hasten site development. She said she is prepared to work in a bipartisan way to help the city recover from the plant closing and the disaster that struck May 28 when an explosion caused the death of Jon Maus, a mill worker, and injured four others.
Those who met with Bachmann included Sartell Mayor Joe Perske and other city officials, county officials and members of area economic development agencies.